Have I mentioned that I am the ultimate snacker? While I try to make the better decisions like carrots and nuts, if a chocolate chip gets in my line of sight, I can’t help myself and just go for it!
With winter upon us and Storm Jonas covering our little city of Charleston in about 18” of snow, the most physical activity that we’ll be getting anytime soon is shoveling, shoveling and more shoveling, meaning that choosing healthy and filling snacks is a must. Do I wish that I had a little bit more self-control and focused more on meals and less on snacks? Absolutely! But then I wouldn’t be able to eat these insanely good granola bars, or these Whole Wheat Muffins packed with protein, so maybe snacking is the way to go!
On Thursday when I headed to the supermarket the day before the big storm hit, I stocked up on the must haves—fruits, veggies, lots of milk, coconut flour, chips and salsa…
I got home, and was like yes, chips and salsa are fabulous, but if we want something hearty, healthy and filling when it’s time to find our cars under the snow, we need a little something else. Roberto and I really love a good granola bar, but sometimes they can be full of ingredients that no one has ever heard of, and that’s just a no go in this house!
Cue in these granola bars.
The base had to be oaty and nutty for me, always! From there, you can really add anything—spices, seeds, fruit, chocolate! The option of a nut flour is definitely there, but coconut flour adds a slight sweetness, so you can add little to no sugar in the rest of the bar. I love all types of dried fruit, and the dried cranberries can be swapped for something else. The crucial points in this bar? Oats, coconut flour, honey and peanut butter. It is best to use honey over agave or maple syrup because it has more of a viscous texture compared to the others and therefore will hold the bar together better. Almond flour and butter instead of coconut flour and peanut butter? Certainly—you can change that!
If I haven’t won you over so far, get ready for this. This recipe makes 8 bars. Each bar comes in at a delicious 225 calories, 13g of fat and 5g of protein! Tell me you aren’t grabbing your mixing bowl right now!
These granola bars are super healthy, full of great quality ingredients and will fuel all activities—from shoveling to stacking wood to all of your winter storm fun!
Oats—1.5 oz, or ½ C
Coconut Flour—1.5 oz, or ¼ C
Pecans, chopped—2 oz, or ½ C
Dried Cranberries—1.5 oz, or ¼ C
Cayenne Pepper—¼ tsp
Chia Seeds—0.2 oz, or 1 tsp
Honey—2.5 oz, or ¼ C
Peanut Butter—3.25 oz, or 1/3C
Vanilla Extract—0.2 oz, or 1 tsp
Chocolate Chips—3 oz, or ¼ C + 1 TBL
Preheat your oven to 300˚ F.
In a bowl, combine the oats, flour, pecans, cranberries, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, chia seeds and salt. Mix.
In a heat proof bowl, combine the honey and peanut butter.
Heat in the microwave, or it can be over the stove in a pot, until the peanut butter is nice a melted. *I like to use crunchy peanut butter for this recipe, it gives the bars an added crunch factor—but creamy is fine too!*
Once melted, add in the vanilla extract, and pour all into the dry ingredients mixture.
Using either your hands or a spatula, mix until combined. Your granola mixture will feel slightly stiff, but that’s what you want!
Fold in the chocolate chips.
*You may add the chocolate chips in with the rest of the dry ingredients and mix with the melted peanut butter and honey. The end result in taste is the same, but the chips will melt, making your bars more a chocolate color!*
To bake, I use a square 8”x8” pan, line it with parchment and press the bars evenly into the pan.
Bake in your preheated oven for about 18-20 minutes, until the oats just start to brown.
*You could also freeze the bars instead of baking to hold their shape, but I love the crispy oat texture and taste!*
Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Cut into bars—you will get 8 out of this pan, and they are only 225 calories each!