I love peanut butter. I love, love peanut butter. Whether its slathered on some good toast, baked into cookies, incorporated into Pad Thai, or just of the end of a spoon I am a sucker for the stuff. But, I think I found my new favorite use for the creamy spread: PB & Banana Cream Bars.
Peanut butter and bananas are an age old combination that just works. Why mess with what is tried and true? And when you add in chocolate… well what doesn’t chocolate make better. These bars are sweetened with honey and the natural sugar in the bananas, making them a sweet (but not overly so) treat. They are topped with two delectable drizzles. One was just not enough for these killer bars. There is a honey peanut drizzle and a bittersweet chocolate drizzle. Not only did they give the bars great flavor, but they create a beautiful finish.
Now, the texture of these bars is unreal. It is probably my favorite of their characteristics. Its creamy, custardy, unexpected, and heavenly. The crust provides a pop of salty peanut chocolate crunch and perfectly contrasts their creamy interiors. The texture was a happy accident and the result of banana, flax, and the secret ingredient: garbanzo beans. An unusual ingredient, I admit, but I promise these bars don’t taste like beans in the slightest! The beans lend great texture and health benefits, but no flavor. They are a surprisingly neutral base to create a great bar.
- For the crust:
- 1 1/2 cup dry roasted organic peanuts
- 1/2 cup cocoa nibs , toasted
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil , melted
- For the cream layer:
- 1 (15) oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup organic all natural peanut butter
- 3 really ripe bananas
- 1/4 cup ground flax seed
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- For drizzling:
- 2 tablespoons organic all natural peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 oz unsweetened chocolate
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9x9 baking dish by lining it with aluminum foil, leaving a boarder extending over the edge of the pan. This will allow you to easily lift the bars out of the baking dish by using this aluminum overhang. Spray the prepared baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Add the roasted peanuts and cocoa nibs to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse several times until the mixture is the texture of very course sand. Add in the honey, flax, and coconut oil and process until the mixture sticks together and forms a loose ball. Press the crust into the pan spreading it out to form an even layer. Set aside.
Next, add all of the cream layer ingredients to the food processor. Process until the mixture is liquefied. Pour over the crust and transfer to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the bars in the oven for another ten minutes. Remove and allow to completely cool.
Once the bars have cooled, you can begin to make the drizzles. Melt the peanut butter, honey, and coconut oil in a small saucepan until runny. Using a spoon drizzle the mixture over the cooled bars diagonally. Next, melt the chocolate in a double boiler. This will prevent any scorching, but the chocolate can also be melted in the microwave. Just be sure to stir every 30 seconds. Once the chocolate has melted use a spoon to drizzle it over the bars on the opposite diagonal at a 90 degree angle creating a hatched design. Allow the drizzles to cool completely. Slice the bars to your desired size and serve.