Move over banana bread, we’ve got a new use for ripe bananas: chewy, sweet-and-salty granola bars that the whole family will go nuts for. The classic pairing of peanut butter and banana makes these bars utterly addictive, and salty chopped pretzels add a nice crunch. These are great for on-the-go families: they’re portable, kid-friendly, and last for up to a week in the fridge. Chocolate-lovers can throw some chocolate chips into the mix, or those in favor of nuttier granola bars can substitute the creamy peanut butter for chunky. For a nut-free version, replace the peanut butter with sunflower butter. Yum!
2 medium ripe bananas
½ cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup honey
¼ cup chopped pitted Medjool dates (about 4 dates)
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup crispy rice cereal (such as Rice Krispies)
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup chopped pretzels, plus additional whole pretzels for garnish
How to Make It
Heat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with 2 crisscrossed pieces of parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides.
In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork.
In a saucepan set over medium heat, combine the peanut butter, honey, and dates. Cook until the peanut butter melts, 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour over the bananas and mix to combine.
Stir in the oats, rice cereal, salt, and pretzels until combined. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Press 16 whole pretzels into the top of the bars, spacing them evenly so there is one per bar.
Bake until firm and lightly brown around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely, then slice into 16 squares.
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