Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

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I hate doing the same things over and over again.

Repeating myself because you didn’t listen to me the first time I said that awesome thing I said. Getting up after just having sat down because I forgot my water on the counter. Painting my nails AGAIN because I always seem to paint them when I am the most antsy I could ever possibly be. Laundry. Hearing the same commercial on three different radio stations, play some tunes man!

But, there are exceptions.

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Playing my song obsession of the moment twice in a row. Or three times, who’s counting? Finding an adorable outfit and wearing it twice in the same week. Rewinding a part in a movie that made you laugh so hard you almost peed just so you can almost pee again! Playing that level of Angry Birds until you get all three stars.

And most importantly, making a recipe that you just LOVE over and over again. And in my kitchen, that’s a pretty big deal. Recipes rarely get a repeat performance. So many recipes, so little time.

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But once in a while I make something delicious that I can’t stop thinking about. Like these bars.

Soft and chewy oatmeal bars with a great hit of banana flavor, speckled with chocolate chips, baked and served warm. Don’t let the oatmeal fool you, these are breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, if you ask me! Customize them to your liking: add peanut butter cups/chips, toss in some nuts, top with ice cream, whatever you like!

Make these and eat them. Then make them again. Then eat them again. Again. What a lovely vicious cycle.

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Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
Yield about 12-16 servings

Ingredients:

1 very ripe banana (mine was 115 g)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup all purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8″ glass baking dish with foil and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

In a large bowl, mash the banana with a fork and then add the oil and brown sugar. With a whisk, mix well until there are no sugar lumps left.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and oats until combined. Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients with a rubber spatula until combined. Fold in chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

Pat batter down evenly into the prepared pan with the rubber spatula. Bake for 25 minutes, or until edges are golden and the center looks set. Let cool before cutting into squares. Or throw caution to the wind and eat them warm straight from the pan. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from Eat, Live Run

Crazytown Peanut Butter Banana Bread

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Let me clarify a point: when I say ‘crazytown’ I mean ‘holy cow, there is so much good stuff in this bread and my impatience doesn’t allow me to list it all.’ I DO NOT mean Crazytown the band that sang that maddeningly catchy song ‘Butterfly’ way back in the day.

But I won’t lie, I liked them. I thought Shifty was cute (for like a week HA!) I know every word to the entire song.

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I used to have problems. Don’t verify that with my hubby, he’ll tell you I still have problems. He calls it issues, I call it awesome!!

There is a whole lot of awesome going on in this bread: peanut butter banana bread studded with mini peanut butter cups, snickers, chocolate chips AND caramel. I added some whole wheat pastry flour, you know… to make it “healthy.” I told you, crazytown!!

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And I just couldn’t help myself, I never can leave well enough alone, I drizzled the top with melted bittersweet chocolate. Crazytown.

Come my lady, come come my lady. You’re my butterfly, sugar baby. Oh gosh…

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Crazytown Peanut Butter Banana Bread
Yields one 8×4″ loaf

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or more AP flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil (you can also use canola)
1 large egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 oz mini peanut butter cups (I used these)
8 mini snickers, chopped
2 oz milk chocolate chips
8 caramels, chopped

Note: I used an 8×4″ pan but you can use a standard 9×5″ you loaf will be slightly thinner and will bake faster, so keep an eye on it! Also, go nuts with the mix-ins: add toffee bits, different candy bars, nuts, toasted coconut, etc.

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350F. Generously grease your loaf pan  with butter or spray with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together your flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until combined, set aside.

In a large bowl stir together your bananas, peanut butter, oil, egg, sugars and vanilla extract. Whisk vigorously for about 30 seconds to ensure that everything is thoroughly combined. The batter will be a bit lumpy because of the bananas, that’s ok!

Pour your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and, with a rubber spatula, fold everything together until just combined (the flour JUST disappears.)

Fold in your mini peanut butter cups, snickers and chocolate chips. Spread half of the batter into your prepared pan. Sprinkle the chopped caramels over the batter and give them a light press with your hand. Top with the rest of your batter and smooth the top with your spatula.

Bake for approx 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached (always check your baked goods early, every oven is different and there’s nothing worse than a rock-solid loaf).

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then loosen the edges of the pan with a plastic knife and remove from loaf pan, transferring bread to a cooling rack. Cool completely, or don’t, just don’t burn your tongue. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from Cookies & Cups

Banana Bread Pancakes

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When I was in high school, I was not your typical sleeps-til-noon teenager. Nope, not me. I spent every weekday morning getting out of bed at 5am to be able to get up, shower, beautify, collect my things and be out the door on time to catch the bus. So when the weekend came, sleeping in meant 8am.

Now, being an adult, I seem to have found my love for sleep. I usually wake up no earlier than 10am on my days off (unless certain circumstances arise) and sometimes I can even sleep until noon, depending on how late I stayed up baking the night before.

This newly found adoration for my comfy bed and warm blankie sadly interferes with the other love of my life: pancakes for breakfast.

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After staring at the clock in disbelief (and other various distractions), I’m usually ready to decide what to make for breakfast around noon. Then I get distracted some more and I either end up skipping breakfast all together or having pancakes at 1:30pm.

It’s National Pancake Day, don’t be like me: start your day off right, enjoy your pancakes for breakfast 🙂

These pancakes taste like you whipped up banana bread dough and accidentally spilled it in your skillet. It tastes exactly like banana bread; but with the whole wheat flour, small amounts of sugar and butter, you can feel good about piling 4 onto your plate. They are fluffy, thick and full of delicious flavor.

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Banana Bread Pancakes
adapted from How Sweet Eats

makes 4 pancakes

Ingredients:

2/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large ripe banana, mashed
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Instructions:

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, whisking until combined. In a meauring cup, measure out the milk and vanilla extract and give it a quick stir. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir with a rubber spatula. At this point, the mixture will still be dry. Add in mashed banana and mix thoroughly. Add melted butter and stir until batter is somewhat smooth.

Heat a skillet over medium heat. When hot, spritz with non-stick cooking spray and using a 1/3 cup measure, spoon batter into rounds and cook until bubbles form on top and the pancake looks set around the edges – about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for a minute or two more. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve hot with butter and syrup, or however you wish.

Note: If you don’t have whole wheat pastry flour, you can use 1 cup of regular whole wheat + 1 cup of all purpose. Or 2 cups of all purpose.

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TWD – Lots of Ways Banana Cake (sorta)

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When a recipe tells me that there’s ‘lots of ways’ to make one certain recipe… I’m totally on board. You see, I used to be afraid of making my own nips and tucks to recipes for the fear that whatever-it-was-to-be wouldn’t turn out. I never took any creative opportunities. I was a weenie.

Well, I’ve been baking for a while and making substitutions and changing things around don’t irk me as they used to. I welcome the creative opportunities!

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*The natural light makes my heart smile*

So I can make this cake and choose to use buttermilk instead of coconut milk. I can choose to throw in the rum (hey, boozy = better). I can choose to use semi-ripe bananas (because that’s what I had, ha). I can choose to completely skip the coconut and dried fruit and throw in an ungodly amount of mini chocolate chips. I can choose to bake these up in 6 mini cakes and a sorry excuse for a bundt cake. I can choose to skip the frosting all together. But daydream about a silky ganache to top the next bundt I make out of this recipe.

And that I did. All of it. I’m a rebel 😉

This cake is really delicious!! Its super moist and tastes like your very own little slice of banana (and chocolate, in my case) heaven. I half expected the nutmeg to be a bit overpowering but I was surprised that it was merely an afterthought of each bite.

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I can only imagine what it would taste like with coconut rum, toasted coconut and dried pineapples (or even crushed fresh pineapple!), coconut rum glaze sprinkled with more toasted coconut. Oh my, I think I have inspiration for the next time I bake this cake. Oh yes, there will be a next time 🙂

A big thanks goes out to Kimberly of Only Creative Opportunities for choosing this recipe. I think she secretly knew that I loved banana cakes/breads. Head on over to her blog for the recipe!

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Up next week: Chewy Chunky Blondies. Oh these were a HIT!!

Banana Chocolate Chip Waffles

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This recipe has been printed and sitting on top of my binder for weeks now and all I needed was an excuse to make these.

Left over bananas from the Cocoa-Nana bread: check.
Bro and sis coming over for brunch: check.
New, unused waffle iron: check.

I wanted something a bit healthier so I used whole wheat flour, but you could easily substitute all purpose flour for all or half of it.

The flavor is really delicious (if you like bananas, that is) and the texture is a bit denser than waffles made with AP flour but if you don’t over-cook the waffles they are still a fantastic texture: soft and springy with warm melty chocolate chips in each bite. Yum-o.

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Banana Chocolate Chip Waffles

This recipe yields about 8 rectangle waffles but can easily be doubled to make plenty for that breakfast army 🙂

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat flour (AP will work too)
2 TBSP granulated sugar
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBSP cinnamon
2 large eggs
1-2/3 cups milk (whole milk and 2% work)
6 TBSP oil (I used olive oil)
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used mini chips)

Directions:

Preheat your waffle maker and spritz it with a bit of cooking oil if necessary.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon together. Then add in the bananas, eggs, milk, oil and vanilla and mix it until it is combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour about 2/3 cup of batter (amount will vary by waffle maker) onto the waffle maker, even out the batter and cook it for about 2 minutes or until it starts turning slightly brown. Waffles should be soft to the touch and very aromatic. Dust with powdered sugar or top with fresh fruit.

Note: you can make the batter earlier in the morning and just cover the bowl until ready to use. Make and freeze them for a quick morning breakfast, just pop in the toaster to warm up.

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TWD – Cocoa Nana Bread

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Some people think that the combination of chocolate and banana is anything but a harmonious marriage of flavors. Me, on the other hand, I completely disagree.

Chocolate and banana can be just as much a match made in heaven as peanut butter and jelly, given the right recipe. And this one was a good one! The chocolate flavor was really pronounced and the banana flavor was a welcomed afterthought. The texture and tight crumb was more reminiscent of a moist cake than a bread, but you won’t hear any complaints from me.

Unlike Dorie, I don’t need to have chocolate be socially accepted as a breakfast food. I accept it, as do all of my taste-testers 😉

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I followed the recipe only changing one thing: I subbed 1/4 cup of the cocoa powder for King Arthur Flour’s Black Cocoa. The black cocoa adds an entirely different depth of flavor to your chocolate goods and gives it a deep, dark, delicious chocolate color. OH and I baked it in a bundt pan instead of a loaf pan.

If you are finicky about banana in your chocolate, I bet that you could swap unsweetened applesauce or any mashed fruit, shredded zucchini, greek yogurt or sour cream for the bananas.

The only things I would do differently next time is to REMEBER TO DUST IT WITH POWDERED SUGAR (I always seem to forget, dangit.) And… mash the bananas right before they have to go into the batter. Have you ever looked at mashed bananas that have been sitting out on the counter for 15 minutes? Ick.

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A big thank you to Steph, my fellow Twi-Hard, of Obsessed With Baking for choosing this recipe! Head on over to her beautiful and rather helpful blog for the recipe and be sure to check out the other bakers’ reviews of this recipe.

Joy’s Banana Crumb Muffins

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I originally bought 4 green bananas a week ago to make Melissa Murphy’s banana apple bread (yes, again). As I lifted the cookbook from the shelf I spotted a recipe I printed a few weeks ago that went along with a promise to the brilliant mind behind it to make them. I put the book down, grabbed that lonely piece of paper and went to work.

Afterall, I promised Joy.

NOoooooo… it had nothing to do with the fact that the recipe made my mouth water. Ok, ok I’m lying. You know me so well 🙂

It came together so quickly and the batter smelled heavenly. I only made a few adjustments: I made mini’s instead of big ‘ol muffins, I added mini chocolate chips (Joy will forgive me) I doubled the cinnamon, and I added extra butter to the crumble.

That last one was a bad idea. Mainly because I forgot to double the sugar and flour along with doubling the butter. So my punishment was a brown sugar glaze rather than a brown sugar crumble. The scrutiny. NOT.

Now, there are only TWO ways of getting this recipe: BEEEGGING Joy for it (as I had to, with needle nose pliers I might add) or from me. Just kidding about the needle nose pliers. Maybe 😉

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Joy’s Banana Crumb Muffins

Ingredients:

For the muffins:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I doubled it)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 liberal handful of mini chocolate chips (optional)

For the crumb topping:

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (can use 1/4 teaspoon if you like a little extra!)
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into little pieces

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin, or line with muffin papers. (I used a mini, sprayed with Pam)
  2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In the bowl of an electric mixer fit with the paddle attachment, beat together bananas, sugar, egg, melted butter,  vanilla. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture, very gently, just until moistened and combined. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups using a large ice cream scoop.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean. (Mine took 15 mins in the mini muffin pan. Err on the side of caution: check them so they don’t come out dry)

They are light, fluffy, banana-y, chocolatey puffs of melt in your mouth…. JOY! Just pure, unadulterated joy.

(Puns totally intended)

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