So. I might just be in love with caramelizing bananas before using them in baking. It adds an extra layer of flavor and sweetness, subtle and toasty. And a little nutty. Even if you cover the banana flavor with other things (like with the Sour Cherry Scones), the toasty nuttiness remains. Heck yes, I’m tooting the banana horn here.
I’m apparently 8 years old because saying banana horn makes me laugh.
I didn’t use to like bananas, not in smoothies, not in cake, not in anything. But life doesn’t stay the same, and tastes don’t either. Did you ever think that you’d be obsessed with roasting cauliflower? I certainly didn’t, yet it’s rather popular. Probably because roast cauliflower is awesome, as long as you slice it thin enough.
Wait, why am I talking about vegetables at a time like this? Y’all are here today for the caramel chocolate.
These soft, gooey bars get their sweetness twice. Once from the caramel bananas, and then again from a generous pour of a vegan caramel sauce. They are very rich and sweet, which is why I like to cut them into smaller triangles instead of huge bars. They are more enjoyable that way…and um, you can always go back and get another or two or three. Or call up your favorite people and have them all over for an impromtu caramel party. That’s a thing, right?
Double Caramel Banana Oat Bars
- 2 large, very ripe bananas
- 1 can of full fat coconut milk, liquid part only (you'll use the solids for the caramel topping)*
- 1 cup of old fashioned oats
- 1/4 cup of cornstarch
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp golden flax meal
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 tsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- solids from the can of coconut milk*
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips
- 2 tbsp old fashioned oats
- Grease a small skillet with 1 tsp coconut oil and place over medium heat.
- Slice the bananas into the skillet, as thinly as you can get them.
- Cook the bananas for 9-12 minutes, stirring occasionally (about once every minute or so), making sure they aren't burning or sticking to the pan. By the time you're done, they should be in an lumpy and mashed in appearance. Remove from heat.
- Grind up the cup of oats to a soft, silky flour.
- Combine the oat flour, the cornstarch, the baking powder, the cinnamon, and the baking soda. Set aside.
- Measure out the liquid from the coconut milk. There should be about 1/2 cup. If you don't have half a cup, fill up as much as you can with the coconut liquid and then add water or almond milk to compensate the rest of the way.
- Puree the bananas with the coconut liquid, the vanilla, the flax, and the brown sugar. Blend till smooth.
- Add the banana mixture to the oat mixture and stir well until combined.
- Add the 1/4 cup of chocolate chips to the batter.
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Line a 8 x 8 baking pan with parchment paper and grease with the remaining coconut oil (this step is optional, but it makes cleaning the pan so much easier and also you get all caramel staying on the bars, and not on the pan)
- Spread the batter evenly into the baking dish.
- Sprinkle the 1/3 cup of chocolate chips over the batter.
- Sprinkle the 2 tsp oats over the batter.
- Measure out 1/2 cup of the coconut milk solids. There should still be some solids left over, which you won't use for this recipe. If still in a very solid state, warm up in the microwave for a few seconds until it becomes liquid and pourable.
- Combine the 1/2 cup brown sugar with the coconut milkfat. Stir until an even color and consistency is reached.
- Pour the brown sugar mixture over the batter.
- Bake for 25 minutes.
- Allow to cool before cutting into small triangles.
- Enjoy with a cool glass of almond milk.
* In order to get the coconut milkfat and liquid to separate, leave a can in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. You can also put in the freezer for a shorter amount of time. Be careful not to shake the can. When sufficiently chilled, you should be able to scoop the milkfat right off the top.
If you are the kind of person who likes "extra caramel drizzle" at Starbucks, I suggest increasing the coconut milk solids to 3/4 cup, and the brown sugar to 3/4 cup. This will make them extra sweet and extra caramelly. I prefer to use 1/2 cup of each, but you do you boo boo. 😉
I had a pretty wonderful weekend. It was rather busy, but a lot of wedding things that are finished, so I felt rather relaxed. I worked a lot and ran a lot and didn’t think about the wedding at all. I’m mad for March Madness, so while BGE and I were living it up watching basketball, I made these pies. I have hard time just sitting and watching sports, but I enjoy watching sports while doing other things.
Let me tell you about these little guys. First, they’re vegan and gluten free. Second, they have booze in them – hurray! And best of all, they’re double crusted, which delights me. I’m such a chocolate girl, but I have to say that the real star here is the bottom peanut butter crust. It’s salty and crunchy and I could eat just this crust and still be happy. In fact, after I made these, a made a few crusts so I could eat them bare.
I’ve always had an issue with banana-based ice cream, because I feel that no matter what you do to it, it still tastes like bananas. That’s not a problem in this dessert, because it’s supposed to taste like bananas. Slightly boozy bananas. And yes, I checked to make sure the rum I used was vegan.
The only hard part was, I made these on Saturday night, and it rained all day Sunday, so I couldn’t eat the pies because I wasn’t able to photograph them until today. I work weekends, so I usually have Mondays off (yes, that’s as good as it sounds). It was so nice and sunny for pictures, I only wish I could have done these pies justice. I’m still working on making food look as good as it tastes.
Life is good.
Bananas Foster Ice Cream Pies with Chocolate & Peanut Butter Crusts
for the bottom crust:
- Use a blender to crush 1 1/2 cups of the corn Chex.
- Melt 3 tbsp of the peanut butter.Combine peanut butter, crushed cereal, and a dash of salt. Mix it will with your hands and then press into a 4-inch biscuit cutter.
- Repeat steps 1 & 2 for second pie, using the remaining cereal and peanut butter. I guess you can do it all in one fell swoop, but I wanted to ensure that both crusts were the same thickness. As it was, they still came out a little uneven. If you don't have a biscuit cutter, you can use a large can with both ends cut off, or even make this into one larger 8-inch pie.
- Put crusts in the freezer to set.
for the ice cream
- Put the dates in a microwave-safe dish and add water to cover. Microwave 1 - 2 minutes until soft, then drain the water.
- Combine bananas, rum, dates, vanilla, and cinnamon in a blender until smooth.
- Place mix in freezer till somewhat hardened, then swirl in the salted peanuts. For a smoother consistency, pour banana mixture into an ice cream maker and process. That's what I did, but I can understand not wanting to get your ice cream maker out or just not having one.
- Once ice cream reaches a consistency that is just a little harder than soft serve, spoon it onto the crusts. Place back in freezer.
for the top crust:
- Melt the chocolate and dip the Chex in, one by one. Place on a parchment- or freezer covered tray. Let them sit for about 8-10 minutes until they are tacky but not completely hardened.
- Using your thumb and forefinger, carefully pile chocolate-covered Chex on top of ice cream and return to freezer.
- Once chocolate and ice cream are both set, drizzle with additional melted peanut butter.
For best taste and texture, let these warm up a little bit after you take them out of the freezer. What's five more minutes?