Motivation Monday: “When something bad happens, you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.”

Indulgent ooey gooey chewy coconut banana bars with a secret ingredient!

Coconana Bars
Coconana Bars

If you aren’t a fan of tofu (or think it’s scary!) this is a great starter recipe for you. You cannot even taste it, yet it contributes to the gooey texture of the bars with a dabble of protein. Tofu is so incredibly versatile that it goes way beyond the traditional stir-fry. I have used tofu in pudding and smoothie recipes, and yesterday I decided to take it to the next level. Enter baking experiment.

Coconana Bars

It took me about 3 tries to get this recipe to the right texture. I had never baked with tofu or Splenda Brown Sugar before, so it was a day of trial and error.The first round turned out like a rubber ball. No joke, it probably bounced. After the first catastrophe I aimed for more tofu and less flour, which resulted in a sloppy mess that slightly resembled dog food. Before I knew it I had baked through two episodes of Real Housewives of Atlanta, Sex & The City the movie, and Shahs of Sunset. Alas Coconana Bars were born!

Here they are in all their glory.Coconana Bars
Coconana Bars

100% dairy free, 100% oil free, 100% vegan, 100% DELIGHTFUL

Now let’s talk Splenda. I know, I know, some of you may be thinking… Splenda? Is she kidding? Is that healthy? Well here it is folks: I felt adventurous and wanted to make a guilt free dessert without all of the fat and sugar that usually comes along with it! Everyone has their own opinion on artificial sweeteners, but once in a while I don’t mind living on the edge and using Splenda. It’s also a great alternative for others who are trying to watch their sugar intake for medical or weight loss reasons. Of course stevia is still my main squeeze when it comes to daily use! I hope that someone comes out with a Stevia Brown Sugar Blend, that would be fannnntastic.

Coconana Bars
Makes 6 bars

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 banana – mashed
1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup silken tofu – blended
4 Tbsp Splenda Brown Sugar Blend (or 1/2 cup brown sugar)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp rum extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

Optional Toppings
1/2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Blend the tofu in a blender until smooth. Transfer mashed tofu into a mixing bowl. Mash the banana and combine with tofu. Next, add the brown sugar, vanilla extract, rum extract, and coconut to the tofu banana mixture. Stir until well mixed. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt ).Pour the tofu banana mixture into the dry ingredients and gently fold the ingredients together until well combined (be gentle, and do not over stir the batter or the bars will come out tough). Spray a 9 x 5in loaf pan with nonstick spray. Pour batter into the pan and bake for 13-14 minutes.
Note: The center should be a little gooey and soft. If overcooked, they can have a tough rubbery texture. There is no harm in undercooking the bars since there are no eggs!

If you’re feeling fancy, mix powdered sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle over the bars right after they come out of the oven. Cut and serve for a healthy dessert.

If you are interested in baking with Splenda Brown Sugar Blend, here are their conversions to make baking a cinch:

1/4 cup
1/8 cup (2 tablespoons or 6 teaspoons)
1/3 cup
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp (or 8 teaspoons)
1/2 cup
1/4 cup (or 4 Tbsp or 12 tsp)
2/3 cup
1/3 cup (or 5 Tbsp + 1 tsp, or 16 tsp)
3/4 cup
6 Tbsp (or 18 tsp)
1 cup
1/2 cup 

Question: What do you think about artificial sweeteners? Do you use them on occasion? Do you steer clear?

I’m off to have an ultrasound of my thyroid. Wahhhh! Think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts! xo

24 Comments on Coconana Bars

  1. Cristina
    January 28, 2013 at 12:56 pm (11 years ago)

    I’ve read in a couple articles that soy and soy products (i.e. tofu) inhibit thyroid function that can later lead to hypo/hyperthyroidism…. I know you are dealing with that right now so I thought you should know… other then that these sound bomb diggity!

    • Catherine
      January 28, 2013 at 1:10 pm (11 years ago)

      Oh my, I have so much to learn about foods that interfere with your thyroid! I’m going to look into it! xo

  2. Vicky Valencia
    January 28, 2013 at 1:32 pm (11 years ago)

    I’m really excited to try this recipe! Thanks for making it an easy read 🙂

  3. Carrie
    January 28, 2013 at 1:51 pm (11 years ago)

    I want to explore more with tofu but have been unsuccessful so far. I’ve read some that you need to press tofu to get the excess water out of it. Do you have to do anything special with the tofu for this recipe? I did the tofu pudding before without pressing it and I was not a fan at all!

    • Catherine
      January 28, 2013 at 6:52 pm (11 years ago)

      For this recipe you do not need to press it. just remove it from the packaging and give it a little squeeze to get excess liquid from the packaging out.

      I really need to try making the Tofudding again! It wasn’t one of my best recipes haha Chocomole is wayyy better!

  4. Eleanor
    January 28, 2013 at 2:27 pm (11 years ago)

    They look delish! Never baked with tofu either but I’m always trying to sneak protein into everything, defo gonna try these!
    On a side note, I was wondering have you ever thought of making a winter skinny bunny cleanse? I did the cleanse (for the third time! I love it!) at the beginning of jan and it was way harder to stick to than last time I did it just because January is tooooooo cold to be eating smoothies and salad all day! I was drinking in green tea like a mad women just to stay warm :p
    Elle xx

    • Catherine
      January 28, 2013 at 6:55 pm (11 years ago)

      Aww that’s fabulous! I’m so happy you love the cleanse! It’s a great way to get back on track! I haven’t made a winter cleans, but that’s a great idea! Some soups and warm baked veggies would be perfect for warm winter!

  5. Casey
    January 28, 2013 at 2:37 pm (11 years ago)

    Om nom nom!! This looks awesome!! As far as sweeteners, I like using NuStevia’s baking blend. (All of the NuStevia stuff I’ve tried has been awesome — no bitter aftertaste!). I’ve also baked with coconut sugar instead of brown sugar (it does add calories, though). So excited to try this, and SO glad you’re back blogging again! Happy Monday! 🙂

    • Catherine
      January 28, 2013 at 7:43 pm (11 years ago)

      Great tips Casey! I’ve never tried coconut sugar, but I keep hearing about it 🙂 xo

  6. Charlotte
    January 29, 2013 at 4:41 am (11 years ago)

    I wonder if the wheat flower could be switched for something else – I have lots of flour substitute products from when I was on the Dukan diet. I’ll perhaps try it out and let you know!

    • Kathy
      June 10, 2013 at 7:21 pm (11 years ago)

      I would be interested if you tried another type of flour. I can’t eat whole wheat.

  7. Betsy
    January 29, 2013 at 6:17 am (11 years ago)

    In the past year my body has had a bad reaction to soy products. (So so said because I love a good soy latte!!) Is there a comparable substitution for the tofu?

  8. Millicent Jones
    January 29, 2013 at 11:12 am (11 years ago)

    These look delish!!! I love adding in tofo to places no one would even know or guess! I have a recipe for a tofu onion dip that is amazing on veggies and pita chips and no one ever knows the secret creamy ingredient is blended tofu!!!! So glad you are back, I stumbled upon your blog while you were gone so I am soo happy to see you back!

  9. Megan J.
    January 29, 2013 at 1:23 pm (11 years ago)

    I’m so scared of tofu but I’m gonna give this one a whirl! I recently joined weight watchers so I’m happy to know that these bars are only 3 points a piece 🙂

    • Catherine
      January 29, 2013 at 2:56 pm (11 years ago)

      I can’t wait for you to try them! xo

  10. Diana
    January 30, 2013 at 4:09 pm (11 years ago)

    These look absolutely delicious!!! Glad to see you’re doing better 🙂

  11. Jackiebug
    January 31, 2013 at 10:09 am (11 years ago)

    Can’t wait to try these! i love tofu but i fail miserably every time i try to use it. did you use the extra firm for these?
    And along with your question – ” What do you think about artificial sweeteners? Do you use them on occasion? Do you steer clear?”
    i feel all things in moderation so for those who have blood sugar problems or have goals they’d like to reach and that’s how they can enjoy desserts etc once in awhile then go for it! for me though artificial sweeteners give me massive headaches so i have to stick to stevia or brown sugar

  12. Juliana
    February 1, 2013 at 2:06 pm (11 years ago)

    I made these today, I think I may have under cooked them a bit but they are still sooo YUMMY! They taste like a ooey gooey tropical bananna bread! I noticed there was the splenda brown sugar in the ingredient list but I didn’t see it in the directions! Just an FYI!Love your blog and I have gotten the girls in my sorority hooked! Keep it up!

    • Catherine
      February 2, 2013 at 4:03 am (11 years ago)

      Thanks Juliana! Totally forgot to add it in the instructions 🙂 I just updated it! xo

  13. Becc
    February 4, 2013 at 12:21 am (11 years ago)

    I cooked up a storm yesterday in preparation for the working week and made your raw bites (they are more of a treat for the week which btw taste like ferrero rocher, SO GOOD!) and the coconana bars. They are yummo, they really are like banana bread, but a no guilt version. Some people at work got freaked out because of the tofu factor, but they wouldn’t worry about it upon tasting them!
    Thanks for 2 great recipes and am so pleased to see you back 🙂

  14. Kayleigh
    February 5, 2013 at 7:48 am (11 years ago)

    Hi Catherine! Have you ever worked with almond flour? Would you know what the conversion rate to replace the wheat flour?

  15. jninesworld
    February 5, 2013 at 11:09 am (11 years ago)

    I love Lara bars. I will have to try these. Love your blog, so inspirational. I have been needing to drop about 20 lbs. Hopefully these recipes will kick start that journey. Thank you!!!!

  16. Angela
    February 11, 2013 at 10:00 am (11 years ago)

    I made these yesterday – ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!!!!! I doubled the recipe since I knew they would be eaten in a heartbeat (half are already gone, so I am glad I did double it). Even though I made two separate loaf pans, I did have to cook these for a lot longer than 13 minutes (somewhere between 30-35 minutes). No big deal though since they are delicious…I just kept popping them back in for 5 minutes at a time until they were done.

  17. Ruthie Stoakes
    February 23, 2013 at 11:57 am (11 years ago)

    Can I use honey or agave in place of the brown sugar or stevia?


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