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I always have bananas in the house. I buy them every week and my husband and I are mostly successful in eating them – but I never throw them away. I hate wasting food (or anything, for that matter). So for years, I have been making banana bread with the leftovers, or sometimes banana muffins to bring to work with me for hungry coworkers.

A couple of months ago, I was hanging out with some friends, and my buddy, Jen, brought the most fabulous baked good I have had in a long time: Banana Oatmeal Bars with Chocolate Chunks. Some bites taste like banana bread, others like an oatmeal cookie, and then there’s the reminder of brownie. These bars have it all. I enjoyed more than I should – and then begged for the recipe.

The best part of getting this recipe was the notes from my friend to go along with it:

‘Here’s the recipe for the banana bars. I followed my friend’s advice and did 1 cup regular flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour. I also used 3 bananas instead of two, and did 1 cup each of the sugars, not the 1/4 cups. Also did 1 1/2 cup oats, and then a bag of Hershey’s dark large choc chips, I didn’t bother toasting the pecans either.’

I loved how the recipe was evolving slightly as friend after friend passed it along. I have made them twice now, the first time following Jen’s advice, and the advice of her friend before her. This last time, I added my own twist – more vanilla, less chocolate and more oats and wheat flour. Just as delicious.

I know that baking is so often seen as an exact science, and I understand that if I removed an egg I would likely end up with a dry falling-apart mess, but there is wiggle room for improvisation within our baked goods. I am happy to say that these bars were devoured at both events I brought them to. Perhaps you can add them to the menu at your next Bake Sale – add your twist!

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