Recipe: Peanut Butter-Banana Granola Bars


stack of three granola bars on a plate next to a coffee mug

I made another batch of granola bars this weekend, this time figuring out how to incorporate some overripe bananas because I have way too many. I’m currently out of honey, so for the sweetener/binder I tried sorghum, and I love the way it turned out.

Sorghum, also called “sorghum molasses” or “sorghum syrup” is made from the stalks of sorghum grass, which have a higher sugar content than many other grasses. It has a texture similar to honey and a color that’s a deep reddish-brown, with the same sweetness but an earthier, almost spicy flavor.

Before transporting food over long miles became cheap, sorghum was a common sweetener in parts of North America where sugar cane wouldn’t grow. It was also preferred by abolitionists, since most sugarcane was grown and harvested by slaves while profiting slave owners.

I like sorghum because it’s a sweetener that’s made locally and tastes delicious. If you’ve never had it before, it’s reminiscent of light molasses. This recipe is a great introduction to the sweetener because it uses just a bit, letting you familiarize yourself with the flavor before going whole hog.

If you like the flavor and want a recipe with even more sorghum goodness, try my ginger muffins.


  • 2½  cups rolled oats (old-fashioned or quick style)
  • 2 Tablespoons shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup mashed, very ripe banana
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2/3 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup raisins or chopped prunes
  • ¾ cup natural peanut butter (unsweetened)
  • ¼ cup sorghum
  • 3 Tablespoons butter (I used salted)


  1. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Heat honey, peanut butter, and butter together on the stove on low heat, or in microwave until butter is melted and mixture warm. (Took two 30 second sessions in my microwave.) Stir until smooth. Then mix in banana.
  3. Pour syrup mixture into dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Press into the bottom of a greased 9″ x 12″ baking dish.
  5. Score into bar shapes. (I do 16 bars per pan.)
  6. Bake about 15 minutes in a 350ºF oven.
  7. Let cool completely before removing bars from pan. Recut along the lines you scored before baking, then remove pieces from baking dish.

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