Hearing ‘Chunky Monkey’ reminds most of us of the iconic ice cream flavour: bananas, walnuts, chocolate, and in some cases, even a caramel swirl. Flavours that would be enough to get any monkeys tail swinging. But what if I told you these oat bars are just as good as the real deal, are gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free? You would simply be stupid not to make them.
I often enjoy whipping up a batch of snack bars or energy balls over the weekend for the upcoming week – this way, I save money on on-the-go snacking (which if you’re hungry can be quite the expense!) and can take pride in knowing that what I’m putting into my body is good, wholesome, and real. It has become too easy to reach for the fast-food, unhealthy and stodgy foods when we are tired or in a rush; these decisions not only impact our bodies and their functioning, but also the environment due to the excessive packaging which, in many instances, is avoidable.
Don’t get me wrong, I, for one, know the importance of indulging, and the positive psychological effects it can have on an individual (very opposite to the effects of restriction) but, if this enjoyment becomes an unhealthy daily habit, and we begin seeking more, but realistically never feel better afterwards, then a change should come about.
These, and any other homemade snacks are the answer to all your former problems and prayers – *stomach rumbles* “I wish I had something satisfying to munch on”, with these chunky monkey bars those thoughts will never cross your mind again, as you will always have something on hand.
They are packed with slow release carbohydrates from the oats, potassium, and softness from the bananas, delicious crunch and a toasty flavour from the walnuts, a truly indulgent depth from the cacao, and a punch of caramel notes from the dates, maple syrup, and sea salt to bring out the flavours – if that doesn’t sell healthy eating, I’m not sure what will.
They are, like most of my recipes, easily adaptable to suit your flavour preferences. It’s simple, add your favourite ingredients to make these your ultimate snack. I love mixing in some chopped dried banana coins for some extra chew and choc chips for a hit of melty chocolate, but any mix-ins will work! For example coconut chips, various dried fruits, your favourite nuts and seeds, toppings of shaved chocolate, or mixing in a dash of ginger. The possibilities are endless, and so is your snacking journey.
These oat bars are also perfect to be made into cookies if your cookie game is stronger. Simply mold them into balls and flatten on a lined, tray rather than pressing them into a loaf tin. Yes, it is that simple.
200g of rolled oats (use GF if needed)
50g of chopped almonds
50g of chopped soft dried banana
4 chopped medjool dates
3 tablespoons of cacao powder
1 teaspoon of chia seeds
3 small very ripe (spotty) bananas
8 tablespoons of maple syrup
4 tablespoons of coconut oil
2 tablespoons of plant mylk
Pinch of sea salt
Preheat the oven to 180℃.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, chopped nuts, banana, dates, cacao powder, chia seeds and salt. Mix until all the ingredients are venally distributed.
Next, in a small saucepan melt the coconut oil and mix in the maple syrup. Then, mash the bananas with a fork and add stir in the oil and maple.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients, ensuring everything is evenly mixed. The mix can be more wet or dry depending on your choice of oats, simple add more oats if it’s too wet, or an extra splash of mylk if too dry.
Finally, line a standard loaf tin with baking paper, transfers the mixture into it and press it down with your hands (it should have a cookie dough-like consistency). Bake in the center of the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until it has set.
Let them cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting into one-centimeter wide oat bars, and store in an airtight container for up to five days.
I would love to know what you guys think of this recipe so, as always let me know in the comments below (and don’t forget to like) and if you recreate these then be sure to tag me on Instagram @wikis.vital.way