Monday, April 2, 2012

Sweet and Salty Granola Bars

I tend to be very 'snacky.' I love making healthy cookies and muffins and such things to take to work. Twelve and a half hours is a long time to be at work and I'm not sure how some of my co-workers get away with only eating once during the day!

To that end, I'm always looking for a homemade granola bar that sticks together without using large amounts of sugar and fat. This recipe inspired my latest effort, and it's by far the best I've made to date!

Sweet and Salty Granola Bars
makes 12 bars

2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup puffed rice or puffed millet cereal
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup ground flaxseed

1/3 cup packed with about half unsalted butter and half coconut oil (alternately, you can use a full 1/3 cup of all butter or all coconut oil, but replacing it with canola oil won't work)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt 
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips or chopped chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8×8 or 9x9 inch square pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil and grease with butter or coconut oil.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, coconut, ground flaxseed, almond meal, chopped walnuts, and chocolate chips. Mix until combined. 

In a small bowl, combine honey, sugar, and coconut oil/butter combo, microwave for 20-30 seconds, stirring after each 10-second increment until the mixture is smooth. Stir vanilla into the mixture and then the salt, stirring until the salt is dissolved. Pour this entire mixture over the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients are wet. 

Press the mixture into the pan with the back of the spoon to smooth the top. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the top turns brown. Allow to cool in the pan for approximately 10 minutes. Then remove the foil or parchment paper carefully to get the bars out of the pan intact. Allow to cool several more minutes and cut into 12 even bars. Place in refrigerator to cool completely.

Enjoy from the fridge or at room temperature. You can store leftovers in the fridge for up to a week, but I doubt they'll last that long!

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