Thursday, September 8, 2011

Healthy-ish Granola Bars

Baby Charlie is ruining my meals.  Seriously.  He's sensitive to dairy, soy, and caffeine, which means I don't get to eat them.  This has totally ruined my addiction to Luna and Mojo bars.  Those things taste like candy bars, and yet actually have some decent nutrients.  Perfect for a mom who has little time and energy after being up half of the night.  But, alas, without them I am just about starving to death.  Some might say this is a good thing (like the guy at Whole Foods who thought I was still pregnant - sigh), but I NEED a decent snack.  Most of the bars you'll find at Whole Foods taste like they are healthy... which isn't a compliment.  I can't have that!  I need something that tastes like a cookie or candy or a pound of sugar.  Without actually having a pound of sugar... I'm trying to eat somewhat healthily, you know.

I've been experimenting for a few days, and think I've come up with a pretty solid recipe.  YAY ME!  This is my first recipe made totally on my own without the help of some totally amazing food blogger.  Progress, for sure.  My first batch tasted so good... but it crumbled apart.  I thought I'd go the no-bake route, but it turns out that baking them really gives the nuts a slightly toasted flavor, and the addition of guar gum binds the bars together.  A total success.  And did I mention that they are SUPER delicious?  As-good-as-a-cookie kind of delicious.  So, go make some... and feel proud of yourself for eating healthy-ish cookie-tasting granola bars.

Nutty Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Yield: about 18 bars

1 cup gluten-free rolled oats, divided
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
2 Tbsp flax seeds (I use whole)
1/3 cup flaked coconut
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup peanuts
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup coconut sugar (you can sub white sugar)
1/2 tsp guar gum
1/3 cup almond butter
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown rice syrup

Preheat oven to 350.

Put 1/2 cup oats, sesame seeds and flax seeds in food processor or Vitamix and process until finely ground, like course flour. Place in large mixing bowl.  I use a Kitchen Aid mixer, of course! 

Add remaining oats, coconut, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, and sunflower seeds to the food processor/Vitamix and pulse until they are all chopped up.  You want them to still keep some of their texture, but no huge chunks. Throw those into the mixer.

Add salt, coconut sugar and guar gum to mixer, and blend dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed.

Add nut butters, vanilla and brown rice syrup and mix until well combined. Add chocolate chips.

Line a 9x13 pan with lightly oiled foil (you'll thank me for this tip later!), so the bars remove easily for cutting. Put granola mixture into the pan and press, press, press! I used a meat pounder, but you can use a drinking glass.  Make sure the granola mixture in firmly packed in before baking.

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350, or until edges just begin to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely. Lift edges of foil to remove bars from the pan.  Cut to desired size, and store in an air-tight container. 

This recipe is pretty flexible.  If you don't have all of those nuts/seeds, just use what you've got! Only have peanut butter? Then use than instead of the almond butter.  No coconut sugar or brown rice syrup? Use white or brown sugar! It will lose healthy-bonus-points, but I won't tell anyone...

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this! I'd love to try it!