Chocolate Oat Bars
I think it safe to say that we all love chocolate! The oat bar recipes that we have at Pilot Fitness are the result of an evolution of several years in the making! It started when Lauren and I first met. She was in the process of starting a bakery business with her cousin. They were building it off of a cookie recipe that had been handed down from Lauren’s grandmother. The cookies had a rolled oat base which made them unique from the traditional flour cookie, and a bit healthier too.
As we made our evolution to a whole foods, plant based lifestyle, we had to tweek the recipe to meet our needs. So the cookie morphed more into a muffin, and then into the oat bars we share with you today! This process was the result of many hours in the kitchen and several years in the making. These are my favorite things to bring on trips and now an absolute must. They cook a bit dense and are comfortably filling. There are no animal products, so nothing that will potentially spoil over the course of a 4 day trip. This chocolate variation of the oat bars has about everything you need to get you through a long day!
- 4 cups Thick Rolled Oats
- 1/4 cup crushed Walnuts (about 2 handfuls of walnut halves, then crush with your hands)
- 1/4 cup Pumpkin Seeds
- 1/4 cup Dry, Shredded Coconut Flakes (optional)
- 1/4 cup Maca Powder
- 1/2 cup Cacao Powder (not cocoa powder)
- 1/2 cup of Buckwheat Flour
- 1/2 cup Flax Meal
- 3 Dates, chopped
- 3/4 cup Raisins
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda (add as last dry ingredient)
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 2 Bananas
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon Chia Seeds (add with vanilla and almond milk before mixing with dry ingredients)
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. While you are getting the dry ingredients ready, measure the almond milk, then mix in the vanilla and chia seeds. Allow this to sit for a few minutes while you mix together the dry ingredients. While the bananas are still in the peel, mash them up with your hands. Then remove peel and place in the dry ingredients. Pour the almond milk mixture over top and mix everything together. Ensure you don’t see any dry parts that haven’t been absorbed by the almond milk. You will notice that this mixture gets pretty thick as you mix it. This is normal as the moisture interacts with the flax and chia seeds.
Lightly coat a 12″x 8″x 2″ Pyrex or other type of baking dish with coconut oil and place the mix in and spread evenly.
Bake for 18-20 minutes @ 375.
Cool for 5 minutes, cut into squares (4 wide by 6 long for a total of 24 bars) and place on cooling rack to prevent over-drying for about 15-25 minutes.
Either place the bars in a storage container of your choice, or if you are taking them on a trip, then I recommend a quart sized zip lock bag. I manage to squeeze 9 bars into each bag and usually bring 2 bags on each 4 day trip
**With all the oat bar recipes, we do not use any refined sugar. All the sweetness comes naturally from the pure food ingredients. For this reason, you will notice that the sweetness really shows itself after the oat bars have had a chance to sit overnight allowing the sugar to release and mix in with the rest of the ingredients.
Additionally, they share the same nutritious base! The rolled oats are a great whole grain source of protein and fiber, as well as a variety of minerals, and help reduce the risk of heart disease. They have a relatively low count of omega 6 to omega 3 which is balanced with the use of both flax seeds and chia seeds, which are the only seed sources that are higher in omega 3 than omega 6. The flax seeds are high in minerals and lignans, and reduce the risk of prostate and breast cancer. We went with walnuts for a reason, as they have a better ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 than most other nuts. Other research shows them to have an anti-inflammatory effect as well. All seeds are great sources of phytosterols, which dramatically reduce cholesterol, so we went with pumpkin seeds for the flavor and texture. Also, seeds are a great source of tryptophan, an amino acid that aids the brain’s ability to absorb serotonin, when consuming a plant based diet. They are mini mood enhancers! We choose almond milk over dairy for obvious reasons, to learn more, visit the science behind it section of our website.**
So you can’t go wrong with these bars! Just choose the flavor you like the most, or rotate them through for some variety.