Monday, September 10, 2012

Monkey Bars

     What a strange name for a food, right? Monkey bars are actually granola bars that are made with chocolate, banana, and peanut butter. They are delicious. I've actually made them twice in preparation for this month's Secret Recipe Club assignment.
     I was assigned to make a recipe from Erin's blog: WholesomeRD. One thing I love about Erin's blog is that the nutritional information is listed for each recipe. She is a nutritionist, so she knows what she is talking about. While there are some special treats, most recipes are pretty healthy. They all sound delicious too! I plan to make the pork carnitas in the very near future. I'm also very interested in trying these smashed bean quesadillas. But alas, I could only choose one recipe to write about and I chose the monkey bars. How can you go wrong with chocolate, banana, and peanut butter?
     These homemade granola bars are very easy to make. The first time, I was really taking my time and let everything cool before adding in the chocolate chips. This results in chocolate chunks in an oat bar. The second time, I was in a hurry and mixed it all together when it was hot, which melted the chocolate which mixed throughout instead of in chunks. Surprisingly, the bars tasted the same either way.
    We loved these bars. I mentioned above that we made them twice! I even gave one to my workout buddy as a peace offering after I made her go to a killer spin class with me. She must have liked it too, because she went home and made some that day! Bananas are supposed to be good for exercise recovery, right? The best part is that there is no added sugar. These are sweetened with honey and maple syrup, so you don't have to feel guilty about what you are eating.
     I did make a few changes from Erin's recipe. I used cashews and regular sized chocolate chips. I also replaced the oat bran with more oats. I used an 8x8 pan to create bars about the same thickness and size of a Quaker granola bar.

Adapted from WholesomeRD
2-1/4 cups oats
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cups milled flax seed
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1 large banana, very ripe and mashed
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350*. Line 8x8 pan with parchment paper.
  • Combine oats, nuts, flax, and maple syrup until oats are coated. Spread onto a greased cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes. Half way through, stir the oats. Remove when mixture is slightly golden. Let cool.
  • While the oats are toasting, combine peanut butter, honey, and mashed banana in a saucepan. Stir on medium-high until the mixture thins out (3-5 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Cool completely. 
  • When the oat mixture and peanut butter mixture are cooled, stir them together and add the chocolate chips.
  • Spread the mixture into the prepared pan, flatten with a spatula, and bake for 25 minutes.
  • Remove bars from the pan using the edges of the parchment paper and let cool. 
  • Cut into 12 bars.


  1. I love making bars like these for my daughter and I'm saving this recipe as it's safe for her with her allergies and they look delicious.

    If you haven't already, I'd love for you to check out my group 'A' SRC entry: Fried Green Tomatoes.

    Cook Lisa Cook

  2. My kids would gobble these up - they sound perfect for their lunchboxes.

  3. Healthy lunch snack here we come. These monkey bars sound great, the kids will think they have been extra good :)

  4. I'm always looking for new snacks to eat before or after a workout. These look awesome!

  5. Those sound super delish and healthy - awesome. I love snacks I feel good about giving my family.

  6. Thanks so much! Love the addition of cashews! So glad you liked them! :)

  7. These look delicious, healthy and so fun!! I bet these would be a HIT for a play date!

  8. The name led me to think that this was something for kids, but it's clearly for adults as well. They look great - aaaaand I'm forwarding this to my baker with hopes of a nice snack for next week.

  9. Bars are such a wonderful snack to have on hand. These look great

  10. Perfect! I'm always looking for another granola bar recipe and the chocolate-PB-banana trifecta is always tasty.

  11. I just pinned your awesome recipe! Thanks for sharing and have a great day.
    Miz Helen

  12. I think these Monkey Bars sound great. And with maple syrup and bananas, I'm sold. I'm new to SRC. Fun finding so many great blogs that I didn't now existed.

  13. MMMM Monkey bars sound good to me!!!

  14. These look awesome! What is "milled" flax seed? Whole? Meal? Or something completely different? Can't wait to make these!

    1. I'm not sure. The box just says "milled." I would assume it's closer to meal because it's ground up.
      This is what the box looks like that I use:


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