Paleo Monkey Bars

June 19, 2013 in Categories: , by

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If you aren’t familiar with monkey bars, they are a brownie-like or coffee cake-like treat with the magical combination of peanut butter, banana and chocolate.  Kind of like a banana bread but with much more than a hint of peanut butter and chocolate.   Yeah, I know… drool.   Well, I though it was high time that I attempted a paleo adaptation of these treats.

I actually started working on this recipe last summer.  It’s a recipe that I made a couple of times, with small variations to improve the texture or better balance the almond butter and banana flavors.  Then, the recipe got shelved while I was working on The Paleo Approach.  So, to celebrate turning in all of my material for the book, I decided to dust this one off for one final (delicious) iteration.  The biggest challenge with this recipe was flavor balance.  I didn’t want the banana flavor to overwhelm them (as banana tends to do), but I didn’t want to mask the flavor completely either.  And I really wanted to keep these sweetened with just banana and semisweet mini chocolate chips, which made balancing flavor and sweetness a little trickier.  Well, the end result has my kids’ seal of approval.  Actually, my kids devoured them even though they really aren’t that sweet.

The secret to getting a good almondy flavor is to use a high quality almond butter and almond meal.  I used NaturAlmond almond butter and almond flour.   NaturAlmond makes hands down the best almond butter I’ve ever tasted (plus they are a local family-owned company and just plain ol’ good people so I love to support them!).  NaturAlmond almond butter is a crunchy almond butter which works so well in this recipe too, giving just that wee bit of texture.  Their almond flour is fairly coarsely ground, more like a meal and I absolutely love it in baking that can handle that texture (I use it in my yeast-based paleo bread recipe and it’s great in some cookie recipes too).  You could easily make your own almond meal by grinding almonds in a food processor (I would suggest roasting the almonds first to boost the flavor).

If you need a nut-free version, I think these would work with sun butter or tahini in place of the almond butter and ground sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds instead of almond meal… but I haven’t tried.

Oh, and another tip:  the riper your bananas, the sweeter these Monkey Bars will be.  Also, I used 80% dark chocolate for the chocolate drizzle on top (my family’s taste buds are very adapted to much less sweet treats now).  You could use bittersweet or even semisweet chocolate instead if you prefer.  You could also double the drizzle recipe and actually do more like a frosting coating over the entire top of the bars instead too.

This is also a great recipe to mix/mash everything by hand.   The slightly chunkier texture you get that way compared to using a food processor or mixer is perfect for these bars.

Yield: 20 large squares

Paleo Monkey Bars | The Paleo Mom

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a 9″x13″ baking pan with coconut oil, palm shortening, lard or butter (or use a silicone pan and skip the greasing).
  2. Peel bananas and mash with a fork until mushy and smooth.  Add eggs, coconut oil, almond butter, almond meal, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt.  Mix thoroughly to form a batter.  Fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Pour batter into prepared baking sheet, and spread batter out evenly with a spatula or spoon.
  4. Bake for 17-18 minutes.  Let cool.  Cut into squares.
  5. If you are going to do the chocolate drizzle, simply melt chocolate and your chosen fat together.  Use a spoon to drizzle over the top.  You can let the drizzle harden at room temperature or pop it in the fridge if you’re feeling impatient (I cut squares before drizzling, but you don’t have to).

Paleo Monkey Bars | The Paleo Mom

Comments

I’m not sure your reason for not wanting to use almond flour but if it’s not due to avoiding almonds then you could try replacing it with more almond butter. I used to make a almond bread that didn’t use any flour just almond butter, it will change the outcome a bit but I think it should work.

“If you need a nut-free version, I think these would work with sun butter or tahini in place of the almond butter and ground sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds instead of almond meal… but I haven’t tried.”

Just made these and I’m in heaven. I used half almonds half sunflower seeds since its what I had (roasted, ground up, set aside 1c ground, then made the rest into butter). That was the longest 17 minutes ever waiting for them to finish cooking, but they were worth the wait!

Made them tonight and they are delicious. Followed recipe exactly except my “drizzle” was made of some of the mini chips w/ butter because I didn’t have the dark chocolate in the house and really wanted the chocolate on top. Thank you for sharing, Sarah, the family will love them as a treat tomorrow.

I’ve never seen crunchy almond butter around here. Would smooth work just as good and not mess up the consistency of the batter or anything?

My family loves traditional monkey bars, though I usually add raisins instead of chocolate chips. Now that we are moving toward a gluten/grain-free diet I will definitely try these. Thanks for another great recipe!

I made these yesterday. They are by far the best paleo baked dessert item I have ever made. I did use just smooth almond butter and threw in a few chopped pecans. Thanks for the recipe!

Just made these for lunches this week, kids are gonna love me, they are delish! I had peanut butter instead of almond butter so used that and my nut grinder wouldn’t work so used wholemeal flour instead, so not very paleo but yummy all the same!

OMG I’m making these TOOONIGHT!!!!! I’m lucky have all the ingredients except the Enjoy Life Choc which I’m going to get after work! Thanks for sharing!!!

I have these in the oven right now! I only had smooth almond butter, so I broke up some whole raw almonds to throw in for texture. I used 3 medium well freckled but not over ripe bananas, and the batter was pretty sweet. I think my kids are going to love these!

I made these last night, and they taste amazing, but mine turned out a bit more flimsy, like I cant really grab them and go like shown in the picture, any suggestions of why that might be? I did use smooth almond instead of crunchy.

I made these tonight. Super simple, easy recipe and they are delicious!! I will definitely be making these again!

This is the second recipe I try from Paleo Mom and wow!!! this recipe and the paleo granola bar recipe are just amazing! I am a pastry chef but I eat paleo, not easy to satisfy a pastry chef’s sweet tooth and expectations! Excellent recipes, keep them coming! :-)

Dearest Paleo Mom: I have to watch sugar and carbs in general. Is there any way you could include nutritional information with all of the wonderful recipes you post? Thanks so much. Look forward to all of your posts!

Not currently, but you can use Nutritiondata.self.com or cronometer.com to determine the nutritional information. — Tamar, Sarah’s assistant

Thanks for a stunning recipe – again! I’ve made these twice now and they were loved by both kids and adults. In fact, they’ll be at my 3 year olds birthday party this weekend.

Hi Sarah, I’ve made these a few times now and really love them. Thanks for the recipe! You mentioned you hadn’t tried making them with sunflower seed butter and I just wanted to let you know that they’re still every bit as delicious, possibly more so since sunflower butter tastes a bit more like peanut butter. (To me, anyway!) They look a bit greenish due to the colouring of the sunflower butter I buy, but taste great!

These were excellent! I added about 2 tablespoons of maple syrup because my bananas weren’t super ripe and I was bringing them to work and my co-workers are crazy sugar addicts who are always amazed that I can make treats without a ton of crap in them. They absolutely loved them. Eeasy to make, delicious, and an all-around great recipe.

Yum! These are amazing. I made them with LSA instead of almond flour. My end product did turn out quite green in colour, what causes them to do this? Still very very yummy so won’t be changing the recipe but just curious.

I suppose it could have been the LSA, since Sarah’s are not green, though I’m not familiar with it. Some foods go through a harmless chemical reaction when baked that turns them green. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

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