Archive for the tag “dried fruit. coconut”

Chocolate Chewy Granola Bars

I will be the first to admit that I love a good chewy granola bar for many reasons: their slightly sweet but still feel a little healthy because of the oats and nuts, their quick and make for an easy snack and they are fairly cheap and easy to make for a great grab and go for anyone in the family. While you can buy them in the store for quite cheap they are also easy to make at home and have on hand in the freezer.

I decided to make my bars with a combination of dried apricots, coconut, dried cranberries, chocolate and nuts.  They are slightly sweet but you don’t feel like you are eating a candy bar.  They fill you up and my toddler loves them.  Win for all!

IMG_2165

IMG_2144You can buy sliced or slivered almonds but I find it cheaper to buy whole ones and chop them yourself.

IMG_2145Chop to the size you like: here is how I like them.

IMG_2146On a sheet pan, toast the oatmeal and almonds for about 8 minutes or until fragrant (stir once halfway)

IMG_2148In a saucepan combine honey, butter, brown sugar and vanilla extract until sugar is dissolved.

IMG_2150My choice of add ins.  You can customize these granola bars any way you like: dates, dried cherries, m&m’s, any other dried fruit, other nuts and more

IMG_2151Once sugar is dissolved add almond butter if desired. You could also use any other nut butter.

IMG_2152Pour mixture over oats, almonds and wheat germ

IMG_2153Stir until combined.

IMG_2154Add flax seeds and let cool for 5 minutes.

IMG_2155Once the mixture has cooled a little add your desired extras.  The chocolate chips will melt a little which is fine because it will help the bars stick together

IMG_2157Pour mixture into an 8×8 pan lined with tin foil and sprayed with non stick spray or oiled

IMG_2158Press mixture into the pan until it is really compact.  This helps the bars stick together better later.  Really press them in.  Add remaining chocolate chips to the top and gently press them in with a spatula. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

IMG_2164Remove bars from pan and slice into desired size.  Store bars in an air tight container for up to a week (if they last that long) or freeze the rest for later.

IMG_2165YUM!

Chocolate Chewy Granola Bars
Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups rolled oats (quick cooking)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp flax seeds
2 tbsp wheat germ
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chocolate chips plus 3 tbsp
 
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  On a sheet pan toast almonds and rolled oats for about 8 minutes or until fragrant.  Stir once in between. Transfer for a big bowl with wheat germ.  In a small saucepan add butter, vanilla, brown sugar and honey.  Heat over medium heat unit sugar is dissolved.  Add almond butter and stir to combine.  Add to bowl and stir to combine.  Allow mixture to cool for about 5 minutes.  Add flax seeds and other add ins.  Press mixture firmly into an 8×8 square pan lined with foil sprayed with nonstick spray.  The more you press the better the bars will stick together later. Top with remaining chocolate chips and press gently with a spatula.  Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to over night.  Remove from pan and slice into desired size.  Store in an airtight container for up to a week or freeze for later. 
All ingredients are optional and can changed depending on your families taste!

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