Saturday, May 9, 2015

Healthy Baking Substitutions & Banana Peanut Butter Bars

peanut butter banana bars

I'm asked about baking substitutions all the time, so I figured a post was in order.  Friends come to me often to ask what they can substitute, and often it's to make a recipe healthier, or allergen-free or simply because they ran out of eggs and are about to pop their brownies in the oven and need help, stat.

So here's some easy substitutions for you when you're in a pinch, or simply want to make a recipe healthier or to fulfill a dietary need.

replace sugar with applesauce

For less sugar, try applesauce or maple syrup and reduce the liquid.

replace butter with banana

For less fat, use mashed banana instead of butter or oil.  This also can be used to make recipes dairy free, and allows you to use less sugar!

replace eggs with chia seeds

Chia seeds, whether ground into a meal or whole soaked in water make great egg substitutions.  Flax meal also works, though it takes less water.

replace eggs with peanut butter or almond butter or sunflower seed butter

Sunflower seed butter (my favorite!), almond butter or peanut butter replaces eggs as well.

avocado for butter

Especially in chocolate recipes, avocado replaces butter or oil nicely, and lends a creamy texture.

So I can't actually have peanuts--occasionally I eat almonds in small amounts but unfortunately peanuts are a no-go.  BUT my husband swore these tasted amazing.  I'm inclined to believe him, but if you don't love them--you can blame them on a certain Mr. Miller.

Or just add sunflower seed or almond butter in instead of the peanut butter.  Enjoy!

banana peanut butter bar

dairy-free banana peanut butter bars

Banana Peanut Butter Bars
yields 9 large squares or 12 smaller bars


1 cup gluten-free flour 
1/2 cup almond flour
1-1/2 cups gluten-free oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (if nut butter is unsalted)
6 tablespoons peanut butter (or seed butter)
3/4 cup mashed banana (about 1 large or 2 small)
3/4 cup coconut palm sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
optional: 1/4 cup nondairy chocolate chips or homemade chips: see below


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 8" pan with parchment paper.
2.  Mash banana and whisk all wet ingredients together; fold dry into wet.

3.  Optional: stir in chocolate chips and spread mixture into pan.
4.  Bake for 25-30 min or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool and slice!

 Homemade chips: melt 1/4 cup coconut oil, 3-1/2 tablespoons raw cacao and 2 to 3 tablespoons maple syrup and let firm up for an hour or pop in the freezer before chopping up.

homemade raw chocolate chips

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