Alright, I am coming at you with another post about snacks. One of my goals in life is to create a perfect bar- so I don't have to buy them. When I look for a bar I look for calories, protein, and how the bar is sweetened. Ideally, I find a bar with about 200 calories is a good snack amount. Protein is hard- but I usually look for 7g or more, but avoid ones with too much protein (because it is unnecessary). I look at the sugars and then check how that bar is sweetened. I tend to choose bars that are naturally sweetened with fruits. I also always chose one with mostly whole ingredients. On my quest for a good bar recipe, I found this one! It is sweetened with banana :). The protein comes from nuts. It is spiced up with some dried fruit, cinnamon and I added cocoa nibs too! I found it was easy to make, easy to store and quite delicious!!
1.5 cups ripe banana, mashed (about 3-4 bananas)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1 TBSP cinnamon
1/4 cup cocoa nibs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper.
In a bowl, mash bananas and add vanilla extract.
Add oats to a food processor and pulse until oats are coarsely chopped. Add to banana mixture
Place cherries in food processor, pulse until chopped. Add to banana mixture and mix well.
Place walnuts, sunflower seeds, pepitas, and almonds in the food processor and pulse a couple times until coarseley chopped. Add to banana mixture along with hemp seeds, cinnamon and 1/2 of the cocoa nibs.
Mix well. Spread into prepared dish, pressing down and evenly distributing.
Sprinkle the rest of the cocao nibs on top.
Place in oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Let cool. The cut into 16 pieces. I wrapped mine individually and stuck them in the freezer.
A few fun facts about the ingredients:
Hemp seeds: are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Also, high in protein. These seeds contain about 25% protein for weight, which is comparable to most meat sources. Also, they are considered a complete protein- meaning they have all the essential amino acids- which is very hard to come by in the plant world.
Cocao nibs: Come from the husk of the cocao bean- which is removed during the drying and fermentation of the cocao bean to ultimately make chocolate. The chocolate we know has things (sugar) added to it to make it sweet and delicious. The cocao nib doesn't. It still has a slightly sweet taste- but don't expect it to taste like the chocolate you are used to! It is considered a superfood. It is high in antioxidants, has caffeine, and contains nutrients like magnesium.