Banana Walnut 'Core Bar'

For those of you that know me in real life, you know my obsession with touring grocery stores. My husband often jokes that all I ever want to do on vacation is wander up and down the aisles of whole foods (or their local equivalent). 

sounds like a GREAT vacation to me!!

anyway, in these stores i'm always scoping out new food products that we can't get at home. besides the fact that it makes me a little depressed and causes me to immediately scour websites for local real estate prices and job markets so that I can have daily access to the aforementioned food product, it also inspires me to do something about it. 

like recreate it at home. 

so when we were on our road trip through MONTANA, IDAHO, UTAH, OREGON & WASHINGTON last fall I spent a whole lot of time in grocery stores dreaming of my favorite foods. at one point, the night before we left the US (seattle to be exact), I suddenly had a bit of a breakdown realizing that my grocery store wandering was quickly coming to a close. our plan was to leave at 5AM the next morning so we could get home at a decent time. That's when I realized:

if we left at 5AM we'd be out of the USA before any of the WHOLEFOODS opened along the way!

Me: 'Clinton, we must get to a wholefoods immediately'

Clinton: 'I thought we were done with this!'

It took us 5 minutes to get in an uber and be on our way to the nearest wholefoods that was closing in 20 minutes. One of the last things I grabbed was one of my favorite bars: a Banana Walnut Core Bar. 

So the next morning at 5AM when I was driving through rain & fog in the pitch dark while my husband slept next to me, I was in heaven munching away on my core bar + revive upbeat coffee kombucha (that stuff is to die for). and I immediately decided that these needed to be recreated at home. 

Packed with energy, these little (actually kind of big) guys fill my tummy with satiating oats, nuts & dates. they also have zero refined sugar/syrups and no oil. they make a great 'grab & go' breakfast and they also travel well as an energy bar on your mountain adventures. 

here's my homemade version:

  • 6-7 dried banana spears
  • 4 soft medjool dates, pitted
  • 1.5 cups gluten free oats
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • sea salt
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water
  • handful of cacao nibs (optional)

Start by grinding up the cashews and walnuts to a rough flour.

Next, grind the banana spears into small chunks. I used my dry vitamix container to do this, but you could use a food processor. 

Add 1 cup gluten free oats, the ground cashews and walnuts, flax seeds, 2/3's of the ground up banana spears, dates, sea salt and 1/4 cup water to a vitamix or food processor. Blend slowly until a paste forms, you may need an extra couple of tbsp of water, but add slowly so the mixture doesn't get too wet.

Using a spatula, scrape the dough out of the blender/processor and into a bowl. Use a fork to mash the dough with the remaining 1/2 cup oats & chopped banana spears. Add a handful of cacao nibs if desired. 

Press into any shape of pan (i used an 8x8 brownie tin - but a large loaf pan would yield thicker bars) and smooth out the surface with a pastry roller. Chill until hardened, then cut into squares. Store in the refrigerator (1 week) or freezer (a few months).