With all the cake and candy and other goodies eaten this time of the year, you need to start taking advantage of breakfast time, or you will not be able to eat all of them. However, breakfast should be the most nutritious and substantial meal of the day, so you cannot eat junk for breakfast. That is when you need these moist and tender breakfast banana brownie bars.
The idea of making breakfast cake first occurred to me a fall when we had lots of pears from our own tree -- way too many to eat out of hand (besides, they did not taste so good raw). I started making pear cake for breakfast, and the idea has since then taken many forms: Mango cake, upside-down pineapple cake, tropical storm cake, and now these banana brownie bars.
These bars are both fat-free and sugar-free (in the sense that no butter, oil, or sugar has been added) and have no chemical leaveners. They are soft, moist, and tender thanks to overripe bananas, dates, and nuts, but they are not very sweet. If you like them a little sweet, add 4 Tbsp. sugar. With the addition of 1/2 c. sugar, they could go for a healthy dessert. I like to call these bars “breakfast cake.” When introducing these to your family, you could even call them “chocolate bread” so they will not think it is box brownies!
Step 1: Ingredients
1 c. dried dates
1 c. hot water
4 Tbsp. roasted peanuts, walnuts, or cashews
4 Tbsp. alkalized cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. mashed overripe bananas (about 5 large)
2 tsp. instant dry yeast
2 1/2 c. all purpose flour or spelt flour
4 Tbsp. peanuts or walnuts, chopped, for topping, optional
Step 2: Soak Dates
Soak the dried dates in the hot water for about 10 min. or till the dates have softened.
Step 3: Blend Chocolate Base
Blend the dates, date water, nuts, cocoa powder, and salt in the blender till nearly smooth.
Add the mashed overripe bananas and blend till smooth. (It is preferable to measure the bananas mashed, as that is more precise. Also, overripe bananas are the best, as they yield maximum sweetness.)
Step 4: Warm and Add Yeast
Pour the chocolate base into a pot and heat while stirring till it feels nice and warm to the finger but not burning. Stir in the instant dry yeast. Let the mixture sit for 10 to 15 min. for the yeast to dissolve and start working. Stir again — you should see small bubbles/holes as you stir.
Step 5: Prepare Pan and Chop Nuts
While waiting for the yeast, oil and flour a 9 x 11 in. pan.
Chop the nuts for the topping.
Step 6: Make Batter
Now, add the flour to the chocolate base and stir till the flour is incorporated. Since this is a yeasted cake, it is okay to stir a little more than you would with a baking-powder cake. The batter should be very thick, almost like a soft dough (or thick frosting!). It should hold its shape for a moment when a spoon is dragged through it.
Pour the batter into the pan and sprinkle with the nuts.
Step 7: Let Rise
Let the cake rise till the batter has puffed up and fills about half a time more than before, 30 to 60 min.
Step 8: Bake Bars
Immediately, bake the cake at 400° F for 35 to 45 min. or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake has pulled back from the sides.
Step 9: Serve Breakfast!
This cake makes about 24 bars. Serve them at room temperature or slightly warm. They are delicious with this super-simple vanilla sauce.
These breakfast banana brownie bars you can feel good about eating – even for breakfast! They also go well in packed lunches as a little special, nutritious treat. At only 111 calories per piece, you can get yourself one or two!
To get the printable recipe and full nutrition facts, please visit http://creativevegancooking.com/2014/12/breakfast-banana-brownie-bars/
If you like this recipe, please vote for me in the sweet tooth contest. Thank you!