Remember when summer was carefree? No assignments, no work, just endless days of fun, sun, running around at the beach or in the park or inside museums with highly breakable ancient vases… all that running sure did make our little kid selves hungry! And with such an active metabolism, we could eat fun summer foods, worry free. Some people remember s’mores from their childhood summers, but not me. My favorite summer snack as a child were peanut butter cracker sandwiches. I remember pouring a small mountain of the little cuties onto a paper towel and looking at the corny cartoons on the box as I munched.
Now that I’m older, I still enjoy a fun, indulgent snack in the summer. But instead of pouring a mountain of peanut butter crackers on my plate, I have created a much more interesting, layered alternative. These cookie bars include lots of the flavors we remember from summers past: the marshmallows and chocolate are reminiscent of s’mores, the chocolate sandwich cookies are like Oreos (from back when it was okay to eat those) and the peanut butter is just as delightful in these bar cookies as it was in peanut butter cracker sandwiches!
I also added banana for added flavor and nutrition. But the banana does not take center stage in these squares. They’re all about the peanut butter, fluffy marshmallow clouds, and cookie crumble. For that I used WhoNu? chocolate sandwich cookies. They are just like Oreos, only healthier. One serving of regular Oreo cookies contains 160 calories and 1 measly gram of dietary fiber. WhoNu cookies are 150 calories per serving, with 3 grams of fiber. Oreos contain 0% daily value of calcium, while WhoNu cookies contain 30% daily value of calcium in one serving. WhoNu cookies also have lots of other vitamins and nutrients not found in Oreos, such as Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12.
So go ahead and bite into the soft, delectable fun of these summer treats. Have them cold or hot, any time you feel like reminiscing on summer memories from years past. Or if you just want a delicious chocolatey peanut-buttery snack!
Summer Fun Cookie Bars
(Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookie Bar Cookies)
adapted from this recipe on Hell Yeah It’s Vegan
Makes about 16 small cookie bars
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur brand)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 small banana, mashed
- 1/2 cup + 1 tbl peanut butter (I used crunchy)
- 1/4 cup organic raw agave syrup
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 Oikos brand banana cream flavored Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbl semisweet chocolate chips
- 5 large marshmallows (I used Dandies brand vegan marshmallows)
- 4 WhoNu? brand chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed into crumbs (some larger pieces is fine)
Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Spray a 9 X 9 ” square baking pan with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the mashed banana, peanut butter, agave syrup, vanilla, and Greek yogurt. Mix well, incorporating all of the wet ingredients into the dry. Mixture will be slightly stiff.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Place about half the dough mixture into the prepared pan. Spread it around as much as possible to the edges and all throughout the pan. Now, distribute the marshmallow pieces as evenly as possible across the surface of the dough as shown:
(At this point I added 1 tablespoon more of chocolate chips along with the marshmallows, but I don’t think it matters, so that 1 tablespoon can just be mixed in with the batter before the batter is placed into the pan.) Cover over the marshmallows with the remaining dough.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Then take out of the oven, but do not turn off the oven. Sprinkle the crushed WhoNu cookies over the top of the batter, distributing the cookie crumbs evenly. Return to the oven and bake another 3-7 minutes. (Cookie bars should be in the oven for a total of 18-22 minutes.)
Refrigerate overnight to make for easier cutting. Enjoy cool for a chill snack on a boiling afternoon, or warm it up for a melty chocolate treat!
Cooler than cool…
Or ooey gooey hot goodness!
It’s your choice…but neither one is the wrong answer! I hope you all have a good summer, and one as carefree and fun as possible!
Sources: (nutrition information): http://www.snackworks.com/products/product-detail.aspx?product=4400007274; http://www.whonucookies.com/Chocolate.aspx
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