The other day, I had a cooking catastrophe in an attempt to make healthy “cookies.”
Well, catastrophe may be kind of a strong word. Because out of it was born these super tasty, super healthy peanut butter and banana energy bars with only 5 ingredients! Here’s the story.
The other night, got it in my head that I wanted to be “healthy” even though I was craving a cookie something fierce. So, I tried making those two-ingredient “cookies” you always see on Pinterest… you know, the ones made only from mashed bananas and oats? I am telling you right now: bananas and oats do not a cookie make. If you want a cookie, do NOT attempt this, whatever you do. To future Elizabeth: when you want cookies, just make them! With BUTTER. And FLOUR. Like these. Or these.
But, like I said before, I did learn something from the experience! While my two-ingredient experiment did not taste anything like the cookies I was craving, they didn’t taste bad. They actually had a fluffy, banana bread-ish texture even though it had no flour (since bananas firm up when they bake and act as a binding agent). They were moist, just like banana bread, and somewhat sweet, from the natural sugars in the banana.
And then my food blogger brain got to thinking: this would make a great energy bar! With some modifications, of course. This is Bowl of DELICIOUS, after all, not Bowl of “Eh, not bad.” And these bars are definitely delicious.
If you read my blog, you know that my husband is a runner. He loveeesss running. I do not. (To quote Ann from Parks and Recreation, “I know it keeps you healthy, but AT WHAT COST?”) I do, however, love supporting his love for running by making him healthy pre-run snacks, especially before races. Or, snacks for both of us before we go on a long hike (my exercise of choice) or other outdoor adventure.
Usually, our pre-hike/pre-run/pre-workout snack is whole wheat toast with peanut butter, sliced banana, and a drizzle of honey. Yum yum yum. These granola bars are based on the same principle and consist of only 5 healthy, natural ingredients: bananas, peanut butter, oats, nuts/seeds, and honey. Throw a little cinnamon/vanilla/other spices in there too, if you’re feeling crazy. Maybe even some chocolate chips! YUM. They are packed full of carbs, healthy fats, and protein, with nothing acidic or too flavorful to cause indigestion while working out, and they will keep you full and satisfied for a long time. They are the PERFECT pre-hike/pre-run/pre-workout snack. WAY better than a Power Bar, for sure!
They are so easy to make. Just mix some the ingredients with a mixer (I use my mom’s old KitchenAid mixer and love it), spread in a baking dish, and bake. One important note: make sure you allow to cool completely before you cut into it, otherwise it may fall apart.
In terms of ingredients, it couldn’t be more simple. For ripe bananas whenever you want them, store very ripe extras in your freezer. When you want to use them, just microwave for one minute, peel, and you have perfectly soft, ripe bananas for baking. For the peanut butter- you can substitute almond butter or another nut butter. I make my own peanut butter– it’s SO EASY. For the nuts/seeds- you can use any combination you want. I used sliced almonds, but pecans, peanuts, or other nuts, in addition to seeds such as sunflower, flax, or pumpkin seeds can be used as well. Use whatever you have in your pantry to make it easy!
These energy bars are kind of like granola bars, but have a bread-ier, fluffier texture to them. They aren’t as crunchy as your traditional granola bars. In fact, they taste very much like a dense banana bread. They are moist, they bind together well, and they are sweet and salty from the peanut butter and honey. They stay good at room temperature for a week, they are inexpensive to make, and are freezable. And best of all, they give you a huge boost of energy from all-natural, real ingredients. They are perfect not only for before working out, but for a snack at work, for a breakfast on the go, or for road trips with hungry kids. Or road trips with hungry adults.
Speaking of road trips, here is the real reason why I made these! Zach and I are driving to Maine tomorrow and are planning on bringing these energy bars for snacking on for the four hour drive. We’re also going SNOWSHOEING! And they’ll be great to bring with us on our trek in the wilderness. If we get stranded, at least we will have the energy bars.
Snowshoeing + energy bars seems like an awesome, healthy way to start to my 30s (did I mention it’s my 30th birthday today?) :-)
If you’re looking for another easy, no-bake granola bar recipe, try these.
Hope you enjoy this recipe! Wish us luck snowshoeing! :-)Print
5 Ingredient Peanut Butter and Banana Energy Bars
These energy bars are easy to make, have only 5 natural, healthy ingredients and are packed full of carbs, healthy fats, and protein. The perfect, delicious snack to get you going!
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 35 mins
- Yield: 12 bars
- Using a hand or standing mixer, mix the bananas, peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon/vanilla, if using, until very smooth.
- Add oats and nuts/seeds and mix until combined.
- Turn out onto a parchment covered baking dish (about 8×8 inches). Press and flatten with a spatula until evenly distributed.
- Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until golden brown on edges.
- Allow to cool completely before cutting bars.
- Wrap in plastic wrap. Store at room temperature for a week or freeze for up to 6 months.
For a non-honey vegan version, substitute with maple syrup, white, or brown sugar.