Double Caramel Banana Chocolate Oat Bars (vegan and gluten free!)

double caramel chocolate banana bars vegan gluten free

So.

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.bars4

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?

gooey3

 

Double Caramel Banana Oat Bars

Yield: approx 22 small bars, less if cut into large squares

Ingredients

    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
  • topping
  • solids from the can of coconut milk*
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp old fashioned oats

Instructions

  1. Grease a small skillet with 1 tsp coconut oil and place over medium heat.
  2. Slice the bananas into the skillet, as thinly as you can get them.
  3. 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.
  4. Grind up the cup of oats to a soft, silky flour.
  5. Combine the oat flour, the cornstarch, the baking powder, the cinnamon, and the baking soda. Set aside.
  6. 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.
  7. Puree the bananas with the coconut liquid, the vanilla, the flax, and the brown sugar. Blend till smooth.
  8. Add the banana mixture to the oat mixture and stir well until combined.
  9. Add the 1/4 cup of chocolate chips to the batter.
  10. Preheat the oven to 350.
  11. 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)
  12. Spread the batter evenly into the baking dish.
  13. Sprinkle the 1/3 cup of chocolate chips over the batter.
  14. Sprinkle the 2 tsp oats over the batter.
  15. 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.
  16. Combine the 1/2 cup brown sugar with the coconut milkfat. Stir until an even color and consistency is reached.
  17. Pour the brown sugar mixture over the batter.
  18. Bake for 25 minutes.
  19. Allow to cool before cutting into small triangles.
  20. Enjoy with a cool glass of almond milk.

Notes

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* 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.

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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. 😉

http://kitchenwindowclovers.com/double-caramel-banana-chocolate-oat-bars-vegan-and-gluten-free/

Five Simple & Healthy Breakfasts

 

1. Blueberries, kasha, almond milk, brown sugar

Combine kasha, blueberries, and almond milk in a bowl. Sprinkle lightly with brown sugar.

 

2. Pineapple beet juice, avocado, egg, Sriracha

For the juice, combine 3 medium beets and half a pineapple in a blender. Puree and strain through a flour sack cloth.

 

3. Overnight Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Oats

I know overnight oats are so last year, but that doesn’t stop them from being delicious. Combine 1/3 cup of oats, 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, pinch of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp vanilla, 5 chopped dates, and 1 tbsp chia. Allow to sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning, add in a banana and a small handful of chocolate chips. Enjoy.

 

3. Raspberry Kale Mini Smoothie

Combine 3/4 cup frozen raspberries, handful of kale, 1/2 cup almond milk, and honey to taste in a blender. You can make it heartier by adding a banana or peanut butter, but it tastes really wonderful and refreshing as is.

 

5. Popped amaranth, strawberries, honey

Tips for popping amaranth:

1.No matter how much amaranth you’re popping, it will go all over the stove. Save yourself the cleanup time by using a large pot with a glass lid. 2. Don’t use any lubricants such as oil or non stick spray.  3. Instead of stirring, shake the pot back and forth vigorously….just like if you were making popcorn 4. Amaranth can be finicky. Start of by testing a spoonful in the pot. If it doesn’t burn, you’re good. 5. Let the pot get really hot before you put the amaranth in 6. Let a little over half of the amaranth pop, remove from heat, and continue to shake. It will continue to pop and you won’t get as many burned bits.