Things have been rough, people.
Hours and hours pouring tediously over cookie, bar, muffin, nay, SCUFFIN recipes well into the night. Entire days standing on my feet over hot sauce pots filled with chocolate and fresh fruit jams! Forced to test each new fragrant concoction (multiple times) as it comes out of my oven.
Wait a tick…
My job rocks!
In all seriousness, there are certainly hard and stressful days with every career. But I try to be actively thankful each day that I am thoroughly smitten with my work, and that weeks are just as wonderful as week-ends.
Recently, I’ve been testing kid-friendly grab n’ go recipes, and I think I almost hit the nail on the head with this one. I wish it held up just a teensy bit better for packaging purposes, and I might test a few more flavors, but this version is still totally delicious as-is. I mean, it’s your favorite smoothie in bar form!
Soft-Baked Strawberry Banana Bar
Adapted from THIS recipe by Angela from Oh She Glows.
For Bar Base:
- 1 1/2 cups rolled gluten-free oats
- 1 cup brown rice flour (if you’re not concerned with gluten-free, you can substitute for most other flours)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 2 organic, free-range eggs
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, plus 1 tablespoon for greasing, melted
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup smashed banana
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (to help baking soda react, you can’t taste it)
For Strawberry Banana Chia Jam:
- 1 ½ cup strawberries, chopped into ½ inch pieces
- 1 ½ cup rounded cup banana, chopped into ½ inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- Combine 1 ¼ cup strawberries, 1¼ cup bananas and maple syrup in a food processor. Puree until smooth. Add to a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, stir in chia seeds and remove pot from heat. Stir several more times to prevent clumping, then add mixture to a heat-proof bowl and refrigerate until room temperature, approximately 30 minutes. While mixture is cooling, make bars.
- Preheat oven to 350. Grease a baking dish with melted coconut oil.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda, sea salt and coconut sugar. Whisk to combine.
- In a separate mixing bowl, combine eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup, smashed banana, vanilla extract and apple cider vinegar. Whisk thoroughly to combine.
- Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to incorporate fully. Scoop ½ cup of mixture out and set aside.
- Turn dough into your baking dish and spread to an even thickness of approximately ½-3/4 inch.
- Remove cooled jam from refrigerate and spread evenly over dough. Crumble reserved ½ cup oat mixture on top, along with remaining banana and strawberry pieces.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and springy to touch but not wet.
- Cool completely before slicing.
If you are a busy mom and have a difficult time finding healthy, fast options that your little ones will enjoy, this recipe is for you. Because they’re soft-baked, they’re suitable for most ages that can handle solid food. AND, keeping them nut-free means they’re good-to-go at schools. Enjoy!