The Musette: baked banana bonk bars

During the summer months we tend to ride early, leaving the Domaine at around 06:30am to avoid as much as possible the heat of the day. Consequently, breakfast is often tucked into our jersey pockets and nibbled as we ride.

These bars make use of that staple, the overripe banana. I have so many, I have to freeze tham. This is an excellent way to use them up, plus it’s probably the most flexible, fast and easy energy bar recipe on the planet. Really, it is! If you have bananas and a mixed selection of grains, rolled oats, seeds and nuts – you can make endless variations of this bar.

Aside from biking, they are perfect for training/racing or running and as a snack for you or the kids. Try the basic recipe or play around with the ingredients, it’s frankly impossible to do anything wrong – as long as you don’t forget them in the oven.

On the day of baking they can be crunchy on the outside, depending on how dry/wet your mixture is, but once they go in the fridge they soften up. Alright, let’s get to it.

Ingredients (makes 16 bars)

  • 90g (1 cup) rolled oats
  • 65g (2/3 cups) chopped nuts (walnuts/pecans etc.)
  • 30g (1/4 cup) shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 3tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4tsp cinnamon/cardamon/ginger
  • 1/4tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 medium mashed ripe bananas
  • 125g (2 generous tbsp) nut butter
  • 50-75ml (4-5tbsp) maple syrup
  • 65g(1/4 cup) dark chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1-2 scoops vegan protein powder (optional)

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan/gas mark 4 (350ºF/320ºF fan).

2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

3. Mash the bananas in a separate bowl and combine with the maple syrup and nut butter. I tend to use a fork or potato masher for this. It’s much faster. The banana mash can have small chunks – it’s cool.

4. Combine the dry and wet ingredients using a spatula.

5. Taste your mixture and season with salt and/or spices.

6. Line your chosen baking tin with greaseproof (parchment) paper and spread out the mixture evenly about 2.5cm (1 inch) thick. Use a wet rubber spatula to even it out on the top, if there are any oats or bits sticking up, they can burn, so make sure it’s a smooth as possible.

7. Bake the mixture until it is golden and firm, generally around 20-25 minutes. Let it cool down before cutting it into bars.

8. Keep them in a airtight container in the fridge for about a week, or in the freezer for up to three months.

Sheree’s Handy Hints

1. If you decide to add protein powder, and the mixture is too dry, add an extra 1/2 a banana.

2. You can substitute or leave out

  • Rolled oats with any rolled grain
  • Nuts with any type of nuts or seeds
  • Maple syrup with honey or date syrup – or leave it out
  • Chocolate with any dried fruit
  • Spices – go crazy, mix them up or leave them out or use finely zested citrus

3. Basically the most important thing is the mashed bananas, chia and grains to absorb moisture, the rest of the ingredients can be whatever you want or have to hand.

4. If you are using them for your training rides or runs, wrap them individually in cling film or greaseproof (parchment) paper.

5. I pop the wrapped ones in the freezer, and just take a couple out when needed. They will defrost in no time and they can also be eaten from frozen – I have done that many times.

Sculpture Saturday #21

This steel rhinoceros “Panzernashorn” by local lad John A Tobler (1982) graces the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich, standing outside the Züricher Kantonalbank. It’s said to be  a symbol of security, strength and steadfastness. Everything we want in a bank, really.

This challenge used to be hosted by the Mind over Memory blogger but, sadly, she no longer has the time. However, we have been saved by Sally Kelly over at Ruined for Life: Phoenix Edition who has most kindly now offered to host.

Share a photo of a sculpture – go on, give it a go, you know you want to!