Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Macaroon Bars

It never ceases to amaze me how you can throw together the same basic ingredients in different combinations and have a limitless amount of outcomes.  I’m a sucker for recipes – I can never have enough! – especially dessert.  And I can’t just make a recipe as-is;  I need to tweak it and make it mine. 

During one of my many internet wanderings I happened upon Nikki’s Healthy Cookie Recipe and was delighted, since I was trying to think beyond banana bread for using up my ripe bananas.  I altered it slightly to accomodate two bananas instead of three, making cookies the first time around, then doubled it the next time to make bars.  Can I just say – YUM!  Just as the original recipe says, the coconut gives it a macaroon-y taste and you’d never know the only sugar comes from the bananas and chocolate chips. 

In bar form, this is like a glorified, chewy granola bar, and could probably be made more crispy by baking it in a bigger pan (so it’s thinner).  Just think of all the yummy things you could add – nuts, dried fruit, etc.  One of the things I like is that it’s very versatile to accomodate food sensitivities.  There are no eggs or dairy (unless you want to use butter for the fat), and though I use flour in my version, you can use the original almond flour to keep it gluten-free.   

Ingredients
2 large, ripe bananas
1t vanilla
1/4c coconut oil, melted (or other fat – such as butter or palm shortening)       
2 scant c rolled oats
1/3c white wheat flour
1/3c finely shredded, unsweetened cocount (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2t cinnamon
1t baking powder
1/2c dark chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the bananas (no need to pre-mash them – the beaters will do the job), vanilla and coconut oil in the bowl of a stand mixer; mix till combined. 

In a separate bowl combine the oats, flour, coconut, cinnamon and baking powder.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix till combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  

If making cookies, I find it easiest to use a cookie dough scoop to make dollops of dough onto silpat-lined cookie sheets.  Bake until they just start getting a hint of gold around the edges – about 13 minutes.

If making bars, double the recipe and spread in a greased square pan. 

Bake until just light golden around the very edges, about 30 minutes.

I find these taste best still warm from the oven or nuked in the microwave so the chocolate is a bit melty, but they’re good either way.  The kiddos loved ’em!  And Gwen – who can be a bit picky – kept asking for more.

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