Thursday, April 21, 2011

Granola Bars

These are almost too yummy to call granola bars...more like a dessert bar. Although I was making them for my sister that has a high sweets tolerance so I added the maximum amount of sugar called for. If you are using them for healthy snacks, use the minimum amount of sugar called for. They are thick, chewy and packed with goodness.

Granola Bars
Yields 12 bars

1 1/2 C old-fashioned rolled oats (if you are GF and can tolerate GF certified oats, use those)
1/2 - 3/4 C coconut palm sugar
1/3 C almond flour
1/2 C unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2-3 C any combination of dried fruits and nuts (I used pecans, walnuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, raisins and fruit sweetened cranberries)
1/3 C almond butter (or any other nut butter)
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 TB melted coconut oil
1/4 - 1/3 C dark raw agave nectar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper (don't worry about getting all four sides covered, just the bottom and the two sides, creating a "sling"). Grease the parchment paper and two uncovered sides.

2. Stir all the dry ingredients together, including the nuts and dried fruits. In a separate bowl combine all the wet ingredients and whisk until well combined.

3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until well combined and crumbly. Press into the prepared pan, pushing it down firmly until it is well packed.

4. Bake the bars for 30-40 minutes until they are quite brown around the edges. They will still appear a little soft and underbaked in the middle, but will firm up as they cool. Cool the bars, in the pan, on a cooling rack for 20 minutes. Once more press the bars down firmly to pack them tight. Let cool an additional 30 minutes. Using the parchment paper on the two sides, remove the bars from the pan. Let cool an additional 60 minutes.

5. Once cool, cut the bars with a long serrated knife. If they bars still seem too crumbly to cut put them in the fridge for 20 minutes. Once cut, wrap each bar in plastic wrap (if you still have any that haven't been eaten!) and place in a large Ziploc bag to store.

*This recipe is linked to Pennywise Platter Thursdays and Real Food Weekly. If you are looking for a bunch of great recipes go check out the round-ups there!

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