Medium | Servings: 12 | Ready In: 70 minutes | Yield: one 9 x 13 pan
This kid-friendly vegan recipe is packed with nutrition but doesn’t skimp on flavor. Chocolate, peanuts, and bananas come together in a classic “Monkey Bar” flavor combination that is irresistible. No one will know these plant-based treats are full of healthy ingredients like black beans, whole wheat flour, and dates. This is unrefined, plant-based snacking you can “Go Ape!” over!
- 2 cups (400g) pitted dates
- 3/4 cup (90g) whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup (60g) dark cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans
- 1 tablespoon (6.5g) ground flax meal
- 1/2 cup (114g) unsweetened applesauce
- 3/4 cup (180g) ripe banana, mashed
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts (75g), roughly chopped
- 1 batch of Peanut Butter Banana Frosting, Chopped Roasted Peanuts, and Banana Sliced (for serving)
How It’s Done
Preheat your oven to 350.
Soak the Dates: Soak dates in warm water at least 5 minutes, to soften. Line a 9×13 baking pan with foil or parchment paper.
For Whole Wheat Dry Ingredients: Sift together the dry ingredients: whole wheat pastry flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
For the Oil-Free Wet Ingredients: Squeeze the dates from soaking liquid. Check for any pits and remove. Save the soaking liquid. Drain and rinse black beans. Combine the dates, black beans, flax meal, applesauce, mashed banana, and vanilla in a food processor. Add 1/2 cup of the date soaking liquid. Puree until smooth.
To make the Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Monkey Bars Batter: Add the pureed wet mixture to the sifted dry ingredients. Add the chopped peanuts to the batter. Stir together just until combined. Be sure not to overmix. Spread brownie mixture evenly in the pan. Sprinkle on the remaining chopped peanuts.
Bake at 350, 50-60 min. Bars are ready when a toothpick can cleanly be inserted and removed. The top will also start to crack. Remove from the oven and let cool before slicing.
Cut into 24 bars and serve.
Yield: 24 bars (9×13 pan)
Chef Katie’s Tips:
Freeze your Ripe Bananas: Save over-ripe bananas in the freezer: Simply peel, break into pieces, and store in a plastic bag. When ready to make this recipe, thaw out in your refrigerator overnight.
Weigh your Ingredients: For consistent results, use a digital kitchen scale for precise measuring. This small investment will save you time from fooling with measuring cups. It will also help make you a better baker.
Sift the Dry: It’s always important to sift together the dry ingredients for a lighter, fluffier batter. This is even more important, though, when working with whole wheat flour. If you don’t have a sifter, use a whisk to combine the dry ingredients and add some air into the flour mix.
Gluten-Free? Simply swap out the whole wheat pastry flour for a gluten-free flour blend.
No Refined Sugars or Syrups: I’m on a mission to avoid using sugar, maple syrup, and other refined sweeteners. These ingredients leave you feeling hungry and can spike a sweet-tooth craving that pushes you to overeat. For this recipe, whole foods, natural sweetness comes from unsweetened applesauce, banana, and dates.
Serving size: 1/24 of a recipe (1.8 ounces).
Percent daily values based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.
Amount Per Serving
Calories From Fat (17%) 17.97
% Daily Value
- Total Fat 2.15g 3%
- Saturated Fat 0.42g 2%
- Cholesterol 0mg 0%
- Sodium 102.24mg 4%
- Potassium 242.93mg 7%
- Total Carbohydrates 21.35g 7%
- Fiber 4.25g 17%
- Sugar 10.5g
- Protein 3.59g 7%
- Calcium 1.57mg <1%
- Iron 17.93mg 100%
- Vitamin A 7.79IU <1%
- Vitamin C 0.02mg <1%
Shopping and Gear List
- Sincerely Nuts Chopped Dates – One Lb. Bag
- Bob’s Red Mill Pastry Flour Whole Wheat – 5 lb
- Rodelle Organic Baking Cocoa Powder Dutch Processed 25 Oz.
- Planters Peanuts, Dry Roasted & Unsalted, 16 Ounce Jar (Pack of 4)
- Kirkland Saigon Cinnamon 10.7 Oz Bottles( Pack of 2) – 21.4 Oz Total