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Dark Chocolate Banana Breakfast Bars & 4 Years(!!)

  I'm in a pretty solid melancholic trance these days.  New Year's and Christmas, old face new faces, first semester at a new school finished with still no clear path in sight, the ups and downs involving matters of the heart.  I'll admit it, I'm pretty rocked.  I'm watching my parents build the house they've always wanted and will probably grow old in.  I'm watching my little sis navigate her life and take care of a dog that managed to steal my heart freshman year of college when I ran back home to meet her sweet puppy face.  My older sisters never cease to amaze me, watching their respective journeys over 2015 has been fantastic.  I'm so glad for them and who they are.

  And me?  Considering the fact that this time last year I was a hot mess living in my parent's mobile home looking for a job, daydreaming about hot desert suns, and having panic attacks while filling out my college transfer paperwork, I'd say I've come pretty damn far.

  Also, I 100% missed my 4 year blogging mark back in December.  I think if you knew about the emotional turmoil I was floundering in and my workload in both of my jobs and finals you'd definitely understand.

  But that's unimportant, can we just dwell on 4 years for a second?  I was just a wee 16 year old when I first hit "publish" on a post about scones that was already too in depth and really long winded.  Obviously some things never really change.
   Something did change recently though.  I got hit with writer's block and had to spend some time nursing bruised hopes and emotions.  Tonight was the first time I really had the motivation to do this stuff.  I spent nearly a month feeling suffocated by my own pressure to just write and bake and take pictures and just publish this post about banana bars that I made way the heck back in October.  Or November.  I forget.

  These simple little cake-y bars drizzled with the darkest chocolate were my saving grace when I was running out the door with nigh unto 3 minutes before my bus arrived.  Keys in had, headphones around the neck, backpack weighing approximately 800000 tons, I'd half walk half run and shovel something into my face in the process.

  Sometimes I'd be commuting with the same people, sometimes the bus would be so packed that those unfortunate enough to get on later in the game were literally sardined into the aisles.

  What a life.

  Coming home at the end of the day I'd kick off my shoes, drop to the futon, and place my head in my hands trying not to get overwhelmed by homework, expectations, grades, the forced interactions, and the pangs of loneliness that came from being in an entirely half hearted situation.

  It's hard, man.  College is not something you can just ease back into, it's more like you need to drown in it for a little bit until you learn to tread water like everyone else.

  But, I made it.  My final grades are living proof that I'm not as moronic as I thought I was, and sometimes I even enjoyed the process.  Here's to more of that happening this semester.

  Until then, Imma just gather my wits about me.

Dark Chocolate Banana Breakfast Bars
Yield: about 12 bars

Ingredients for the bars:
  • 2 medium bananas, a bit past their prime
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup flour (whole wheat would be great, I used AP)
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • Some chocolate chips if you fancy
  • 1/4 cup fine dark chocolate (that random little chunk of goodness hiding amongst the odds and ends in your cabinets)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray an 8x8 inch pan with cooking spray/grease with butter.

Place bananas into a large bowl and mash them with a fork or potato masher until only small chunks remain.  With a wooden spoon, stir in the oil (if using coconut, make sure you melt it to a liquid if it's solidified on you) and brown sugar.  Then stir in the egg, vanilla, and salt.  Stir in the baking soda.  Add the flour, oats, and optional chocolate chips and stir until just mixed, some lumps may be present but dat's okay.  Spread into yer pan!

Bake for 18-22 minutes, until browned around the edges and set in the center.  Cool completely before slicing.

But don't forget the drizzle!  Melt the chocolate and peanut butter in a microwave safe container on 50% power in 30 second increments, stirring in between.  Place melted chocolate into a piping bag or a ziploc with the corner cut off.  Drizzle!

Enjoy within 2 days or freeze for up to a month (they're so good from the freezer after a minute or two).  

Sources: adapted from the awesome Dorothy of Crazy for Crust