Banana Chocolate Chip Bars


Somehow, it seems I’ve gotten myself into what appears to be a New Year’s resolution.  Since I’m not one to make resolutions, I guess it chose me by default.  In my attempt to use what we had on hand to cook and bake as much as possible this month, I decided to bake my son some treats to pack in his lunch for school.  My pantry is stuffed, so the possibilities are endless.

If you saw his lunch, you’d argue with me about whether it actually resembled what you or I might call a standard lunch, but it helps put calories in his tall lanky frame until he can come home in the early afternoon to eat another meal before dinner.

He’s fairly accommodating and knew I was going to be cutting back on my habitual trips to the grocery store, so readily agreed to go along with what looks like may become a Monday ritual.  Since I have absolutely no rituals, this should be interesting.

But I’m thinking about it, and like the idea:  1)  I can try many new recipes; 2) I know what ingredients are going into his treats since they’re coming out of my pantry; 3)  it will keep my pantry under control; and 4) I’d like to think it will save some money, but I truly wonder about it.  I’ll have to get out my calculator once in a while to figure it out.

With two weeks down and about 37 to go, I’m two for two, so can’t call my new practice a success yet, but I’ll keep you posted as the year unfolds.

Last week, the Resident Teen enjoyed a batch of Banana Chocolate Chip Bars.  I had some rather sad looking bananas sitting around and instead of putting them in the freezer for another day (and most likely trash day because months would go by before I used them…) I decided they’d go to good use as a lunch treat. 

Banana Chocolate Chip Bars
1 c. plus 2 T all purpose flour
1 c. plus 2 T rolled oats
1/4 c. plus 2 T slivered almonds
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter
2 ripe bananas, small
1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. orange extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, oats, almonds, baking soda, and salt.

In a larger bowl, beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Add the dry mixture a little at a time and beat until well combined.

Lightly oil an 8×8″ baking dish, and press half the mixture evenly into the bottom.  Bake for 10 minutes or just until set.  Remove from the oven and let cool.

Chop bananas.  Toss with the chocolate chips, stir in the orange extract, and then spread over the cooled crust.  Sprinkle the remainder of the oat mixture evenly over the bananas and chips and press lightly with a rubber spatula.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden.  Cool on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes before cutting into bars.



  • My son liked these giving them a 4 out of 5 points.  They survived the trip to school each day which is no mean feat.  He uses plastic grocery bags and throws everything into his back pack.  “Everything” usually includes a Hansen’s soda, an apple or orange, a salty item, and some peanut butter on saltines.  I can only imagine the condition it’s all in when he pulls it out at lunch time, but it’s none of my business.  I’m just the cook.
  • I did sample one (yes, only one…) and can say they were tasty, reminding me a bit of those frozen banana treats.  The oats and nuts give them a pleasant texture, but they are seriously sweet.
  • I got this recipe out of an cookie book I purchased on a mark down rack years and years ago and it’s only the 3rd time I’ve used it.  The additional 2 T measurement of ingredients was included in the original recipe, and I actually followed the directions for a change…
  • Let the butter get soft and you won’t have to use a mixer — a wooden spoon works just fine with some elbow grease if you want to make sure the butter and sugar are fluffy.
  • I think coconut would be great in these.
  • I’m a week ahead of the game here, so I have absolutely no excuse to wimp out on this.  What I think will be interesting is finding out if he requests seconds on a particular treat.  We’ll see.