From time to time, I’ll take one of my standard recipes and mess around with it, attempting to make a more healthful version (something that could be part of a sensible breakfast or serve as a mid-morning snack). These Banana Almond Breakfast Bars are the end result of several different trials, all starting from my go-to banana bread recipe. By replacing all-purpose flour with a combination of whole wheat flour and almond meal, using coconut oil instead of butter (though coconut oil is actually higher in calories and fat, it has many more health benefits than butter), and choosing honey instead of white sugar, I’ve turned the sweet, fluffy banana bread recipe into a slightly dense, hearty bar.
To make this recipe, you will need bananas that are completely brown (even better if the skins have started to turn black) – if your bananas only have brown spots, they’re not ready. The higher level of sweetness in overripe bananas is what allows for such a small quantity of added sweetener (honey) to be used.
2 medium overripe bananas (fully brown or black skins)
3 Tbsp / 1.5 fl oz coconut oil, melted
2 Tbsp honey
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup / 4.25 oz whole wheat flour
1/2 cup / 1.6 oz almond meal
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup / 1.25 oz chopped dark chocolate (optional)
1/2 cup / 2.25 oz sliced almonds
1/2 tsp granulated sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a glass or light-colored metal 8″ x 8″ baking dish with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.
Mash the bananas with a wooden spoon until only small chunks remain. Add the melted coconut oil and stir vigorously to combine, then add the honey, egg and vanilla extract.
Gently stir the whole wheat flour, almond meal, salt and baking soda into the banana mixture. Fold in the chopped chocolate, if desired, and transfer batter to prepared baking dish.
Scatter sliced almonds over the top of the batter, covering it completely. Gently press them down into the surface of the batter.
Place baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with the 1/2 tsp of granulated sugar (optional), then return to oven and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes. When completely cool, cut into your desired number of bars (I think 12 is a good number). Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to four days, or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and keep in the freezer for up to two months.