Thursday, August 13, 2015

Banana Walnut Raisin Chocolate Chip Bars

Banana Walnut Raisin Chocolate Chip Bars |

I'm so excited to share this recipe with you today! These bars are one of my all-time favorite snacks to make and to eat. I always have them on hand, either fresh on the counter or stashed in the freezer. They're naturally sweetened (except for the chocolate chips, if you use them) with mashed banana, unsweetened applesauce, and raisins; rich with healthy fats from the walnuts; and packed with the comforting flavors of vanilla and cinnamon. 

And the best part is, they're so easy to make! You can mix them up in one bowl, spread them into a baking dish, and half an hour later they're done. To make it even easier, I buy extra bananas once in awhile, let them ripen up, peel them, and then throw them in a bag in the microwave. When I want to make these bars, I throw the frozen bananas into my mixing bowl, thaw them in the microwave for about five minutes, and mash them up. Easy-peasy.

Banana Walnut Raisin Chocolate Chip Bars |

Warm from the oven, I find myself sneaking little bites of these bars here and there whenever I pass through the kitchen. But when I'm desperate for a little pick-me-up in the afternoon, I find them just as delicious straight from the freezer. They make a nice pre-workout snack and an equally delicious dessert warm with a dollop of whipped cream on top. 

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Banana Walnut Raisin Chocolate Chip Bars |

Banana Walnut Raisin Chocolate Chip Bars
printable version

makes approximately 24  servings

5 very ripe bananas
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup walnuts*, coarsely chopped
1 cup raisins*
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips*
additional cinnamon to sprinkle on top

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 13x9 baking dish.

2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Add the oil and applesauce and mix well. Add the vanilla and cinnamon and give it another good stir.

3. Add the oats, walnuts, raisins, and chocolate chips and stir well. Let sit for 5-10 minutes so oats can absorb some liquid.

4. Spread the mixture into the prepared baking dish and smooth with a spatula. Lightly sprinkle the top of the bars with cinnamon.

5. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-35 minutes or until top is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

6. Bars can be eaten while warm, kept at room temperature for up to three days, or cut into bars and frozen for up to three months.

* The walnuts, raisins, and chocolate chips could be subbed out for other ingredients if desired. I like using pecans and dried cherries with the chocolate chips sometimes.

What's your favorite go-to snack? If you make these bars, please comment below and let me know what you think!

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