Thursday, 23 October 2008

Mushy bananas

I love bananas. In all their stages of ripeness (well, maybe not the green ones...flavor is a bit weak)

I had two bananas that were ripening away, and yesterday I had to do something with them (the skin was almost black, and I'm leaving on a trip tomorrow morning. I would hate to think what they would look like when I got back) I don't have a loaf pan or a muffin tin, so I thought of doing banana cookies, brownies, or bars.

While searching through the cupboard, I found a package of oats that had been sitting there FOREVER. Eager to use two goodies that had been languishing away in my flat, I decided to go for bars, also excited because I had never made them before, and assumed they would be good for my future travels. I found a recipe on for banana oatmeal bars with chocolate chunks After reading the reviews, I garnered from the recipe that

a) there was too much sugar
b) it was too cakey.

Modification time! Also, I always need to halve recipes because I don't bake in a regular oven: I bake in a toaster oven, which means I can only use a small baking pan. I think the above recipe also calls for nuts, which I leave out for my boyfriend, because his jaw was broken and he is still quite sensitive to hard, crunchy items.

SO, for my bars. The full recipe calls for 2 bananas. I actually had 2, very overripe bananas. I wanted to use them both. When I was vegan, many recipes that I used said that overripe bananas could be used instead of an egg. I kept this in mind and decided that if the batter was too thick, I would add the egg. If not, then I would leave it out.

For oversweetness, I noticed many reviewers cut the sugar in half and it was fine. So I did the same, and used more brown sugar instead of white.

To correct for the cake-yness, (I wanted a more hearty, sturdy bar) I switched the amounts of oats and flour, and also used whole wheat flour. So there I was, mixing away, following the directions, and I added the dry ingredients. It still appeared (to me) very wet. Not bar like at all. More oats. Still wet. More oats. Still wet. More oats....getting better! I wish I remembered how much oats I used. The amount in the recipe below is my best guess, but I would suggest adding the oats until the batter gets quite sticky and sticks to the beaters a bit more than cookie dough. Even after baking them, I turned them out and the bottom was still quite (cake-y) soft. I will not be afraid to bring on the oats next time!!!

I've been really bad with pictures recently, I promise I'll get better! I just never thought of taking pictures of my food...

Banana Oatmeal Bars with Chocolate Chunks

1/2 cup (125 g) all purpose flour
1 cup (250 g) quick-cooking oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (125 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup (60 g) sugar
1/2 cup (125 g) packed golden brown sugar
2 large mashed ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 c (100 g) semi sweet chocolate chopped into chunks

Preheat oven to 325°F (170 C). Butter and flour 8x8-inch (sorry, don't know the centimetres on this one...) baking sheet. Blend first 4 ingredients in medium bowl. Beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add both sugars and beat until well blended. Beat in bananas, then vanilla. Stir in flour and oat mixture, then chocolate.

Spread batter in prepared pan. I always bake uncovered the first 15 minutes and then cover with foil (this allows for the item to bake evenly and not get the top burned, which I believe is a result of the small size of my toaster oven) Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean and top is golden, about 1 hour. Cool in pan on rack. Cut into bars and serve.

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