Some of my favorite things to make are granola bars for my brother and parents. Whenever I come over, toting the bars, I immediate transfer them to the freezer and then casually mention them to my brother. Without missing a step, he goes straight to the freezer(even if he's just eaten), takes out a bar, and shoves it into his mouth. Next, my dad will find out about them and then confess to me a couple days later that he ate three at once. "I'm sorry, they're just so good!", he'll say. And my poor mom, she'll be lucky if she gets one.
Last weekend, I noticed a very black banana in my fridge. I immediately got excited because a black banana means granola bar making time! I had seen peanut butter pretzel bars a week or so ago and was definitely inspired to make my own version. These bars are filled with everyone's favorite food "pairs"- banana and peanut butter, peanut butter and pretzels, pretzels and chocolate. They're also soft and delicious. So, I won't blame you if you eat three at once ;)
inspired by Kitchen Grrrls
1 very ripe, medium banana
1/2 cup all natural, creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp flaxseed meal mixed with 4 tbsp of water and set aside for 5 minutes
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups oats(gluten-free if necessary)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup gluten-free pretzels, snapped into pieces
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 375. Line an 8"x8" casserole dish with parchment paper going one way so that the opposite sides of the pan have parchment sticking up over the top. Lightly grease the exposed pan and parchment with non-stick spray.
In a medium sized bowl, smash/stir your banana with a fork until it is smooth(if there are some little chunks left, that's ok). Add in the peanut butter and mix until it is completely combined with the banana(it's going to smell delicious so resist the urge to eat it!). Lastly, add the prepared flax-eggs and vanilla, mixing until completely combined.
In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients so that the pretzels and chocolate chips are evenly dispersed throughout the oats. Add in the wet ingredients, mixing thoroughly so all of the dry ingredients are covered. This may take some elbow grease, so feel free to use your hands to mix everything together.
Spread mixture into prepared dish and bake in oven for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned on the edges. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool for about 30 minutes to an hour. Cover and place in refrigerator/freezer until firm. Cut into desired amount of bars(I made 8 triangles). Wrap individually and store in freezer to preserve freshness.