Last week, I purchased a pound of strawberries and a bunch of bananas, planning to make the Roasted Strawberry Banana Bread (recipe by Gina of Skinnytaste) that I’d stumbled across as I was compiling the grocery list. I figured that it’s one of the last times I’ll be able to get quality strawberries here in New York (though I suppose I can’t be certain as I haven’t even lived here a month).

Then I saw strawberries on sale this week. They looked beautiful. So I grabbed another four pounds to make strawberry syrup that I can can and use at some point in the next year.

Problem was, I hadn’t started using the strawberries from last week. So when I pulled them out yesterday, hoping to make that banana bread that I’ve been promising my husband, I was dismayed to find that (big surprise here – sense the sarcasm?) the strawberries had started to mold. So that was a waste of money and perfectly good strawberries. Sigh.

I’d already mashed my bananas, though. That tends to be how I go about cooking in general, really – just kind of crash about and hope that I have everything and that the recipe turns out in the end. Most of the time, it does, and with fantastic results. The other 2% of the time…big flop. Just wrong. (Don’t even get me started on buckwheat bread…)

That’s the way I grew up, though. I watched my mom cook a lot, and I often pitched in when she was fairly busy and we couldn’t afford to really pick up anything on her way home from work. She always just kind of put stuff together, and it magically worked. The biggest surprise of a winner was ground beef, spaghetti noodles, cheddar cheese, and something else that I can’t remember off the top of my head. We were at the end of the month, really just making do with whatever we happened to have, and she pulls this out of a hat. It did not look very palatable, really, but…it’s what we had left in the house.

So I stood there, looking at the mashed bananas, wondering what I would be able to do to salvage it, and I figured I’d just leave the strawberries out and see what happened. I also wanted to leave out the butter (and it turned out plenty moist and tasty without it), use a flax egg in place of egg whites, and add peanut butter chips, making this vegetarian but easily adaptable into a vegan version.

Get the recipe after the jump!

Banana Peanut Butter Chip Bars (vegetarian)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 12 bars

Serving Size: 1 bar

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (not packed)
  • 1/2 cup erythritol (or other sweetener that measures like sugar)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare an 8"x8" baking dish by spraying it with your baking spray. You can also use parchment to make it easier to remove and cut the bars, but I've always just cut the bars in the baking pan itself.
  2. Make a "flax egg." Combine the flaxseed and water in a small bowl and let stand for a few minutes, creating a gel.
  3. Combine wet ingredients: "flax egg," bananas, applesauce, and vanilla extract.
  4. Add dry ingredients to bowl: flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar and erythritol. Mix until just combined.
  5. Pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish, then top with peanut butter chips. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool and cut into 12 bars.

Notes

Tweaked slightly from Gina @ Skinnytaste

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