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Guilt Free Choco-Banana Oat Bars (With a Secret Ingredient!)
I had a couple bananas that needed to be used the other day. (How many of my recipes begin that way!?!?) Since I was still on the quest to make some kind of granola or energy bars, I decided to use oatmeal and the bananas. For some reason, I thought, "Hey! What if I use a can of chickpeas in this recipe?" And there you have it. . . . the secret ingredient. Chickpeas. I figured any added protein and fiber would be a good thing. I also added powdered milk for a little extra calcium.
This recipe is super simple if you have a food processor.
(1) 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained
2 cups of quick cook oats
1/2 cup dry milk powder
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 small ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup whole almonds, chopped after measuring
For the sprinkled topping:
1 1/2 tsp. white sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the chickpeas, oats, dry milk powder, honey and cocoa powder in the bowl of a food processor. Mix until everything is combined, scraping down sides if needed.
Place your mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl and add the chickpea and oatmeal mixture from the food processor. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Fold in the dried cranberries.
Place mixture on a baking sheet or in a 9x9 baking dish. I always use my stonewear bar pan. It doesn't cover my whole bar pan, though. My square was about 12 in.by 12 in. If you have a 9x9 pan, your bars would be slightly thicker (and much better shaped!)
Spread out until it is an equal depth throughout.
Sprinkle the chopped almonds over the pressed dough and gently press the almonds into the dough.
Combine the sugar, salt and cinnamon and sprinkle over the dough.
Cook in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Ovens and baking sheets vary. You might want to check them at 15 minutes.
Once out of the oven, let them cool for a half hour on the baking sheet or bar pan.
Cut into the size bars you prefer and place in an airtight container.
We cut ours into 15 bars.
My daughter and I loved these. My son didn't like them because he doesn't like bananas. My friend also liked them and was the one who came up with the name "Guilt Free Oat Bars." My daughter told me to definitely not lose the recipe, though and was disappointed yesterday when they were all gone. She took them in her lunch box two days in a row and ate them for breakfast.