Healthy Granola Bars

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!

ingredients

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

Cinnamon—½ tsp

Chia Seeds—0.2 oz, or 1 tsp

Salt—¼ 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


process

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!


Bon Appétit!

Dried Fruit Granola

This is my first, of many I hope, recipe collaborations! I have been pressuring my fiancé for many, many months to make his granola recipe for me to share with everyone! Not only is this one super tasty, but also it’s so versatile! Not a huge fan of raisins? Coconut? Substitute them!

Clearly I am excited, as I have used 5 exclamation points in the last 6 sentences!

This past week has been Thanksgiving recipe testing mania. I have been working with iamduende.com creating something extra special for all of you for the upcoming holidays! Can you believe that Thanksgiving is just 2 weeks away?! Between lots of work and endless making and remaking of desserts, there’s hardly been a moment of downtime. Keep in mind that with every recipe that I am testing for this wonderful Thanksgiving special, I am taking endless bites, I mean how else am I supposed to adjust the ingredients?!

This all leads me to just feel oh so balloon-like and even slightly more wound up than usual! I then decided that with this dessert heavy season upon us that I needed to at least have a healthy snack around to munch on instead of my bowl of holiday Rollos and Hershey kisses.

So, as I unwrap my fifth Ghirardelli chocolate bar and melt it down, instead of taking a piece for myself, I instead take a handful of slightly sweet and wonderfully crunchy homemade granola! The natural sweetness in the raisin, cranberry, coconut combination along with the fillingness of the nuts make for an all around wonderful and enjoyable snack.

Feeling extra slumpy recently because you’ve been stuffing your face with any and all things that just scream hey it’s the holiday season, you must eat me! ??! Well, let’s put a slight stop to the madness with this granola!

 

ingredients

Canola Oil—0.75 oz, or 2 TBL

Honey—3 oz, or 1/3 C

Fresh Ginger, peeled & chopped—0.75 oz, or 2” piece

Oats—9.75 oz, or 3 C

Brown Sugar—1.6 oz, or 3 TBL

Salt—0.05 oz, or ¼ tsp

Cinnamon—0.05 oz, or ¾ tsp

Pecans, chopped—2.25 oz, or ½ C

Coconut Flakes—1 oz, or 1/3 C

Dried Cranberries—2.15 oz, or 1/3 C

Raisins—2.15 oz, or 1/3 C

Candied Ginger—2.25 oz, or 1/3 C

 

process

In a small saucepot, combine the oil, honey and fresh ginger.

Preheat the oven to 300˚ F.

Put on low heat and stir to dissolve the honey. Keep on low heat until ready to use.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, chopped pecans and coconut flakes. Mix.

Remove and toss the ginger from the honey mixture. Pour the honey/oil into your oats.

Mix to coat.

Spread evenly on a sheetpan that has been lined with parchment paper.

Put in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes so that your granola toasts evenly.

Once your granola is nice and toasty (you’ll be able to smell it!), remove from the oven and allow to cool.

When it has cooled, mix in your dried cranberries, raisins and candied ginger.

Store in an airtight container, and enjoy as a snack on its own, with some plain yogurt or cashew milk—my favorite!

 

Bon Appétit!