Healthy, yummy granola bars
The perfect on the go snack everyone loves.
4 cups old fashioned oats (gluten-free if you prefer)
1/3 cup coconut oil*
1 cup raw honey*
4 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
1/8 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups almonds*, chopped (a food processor works great for this)
1/2 cup cocoa nibs* (optional) – These are unsweetened bits of chopped cocoa that contain no sweeteners or other ingredients.
I actually use 1 1/2 cups of mixed nuts or what ever I have in the house. I also add shredded coconut and chopped dates.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place oats on an ungreased 11″ x 17″ rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes, stirring every three to four minutes.
Meanwhile, melt honey and oil together in a medium saucepan over medium heat, being careful not to burn it. Remove pan from heat; and add vanilla, salt and cinnamon. Stir until dissolved.
Add toasted oats to the saucepan mixture and toss to coat evenly. Add chopped almonds and stir. Add cocoa nibs (optional) and stir to combine.
Line a smaller (10″ x 15″) rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. (Tip: Sprinkle the sheet with a few drops of water first to help keep the paper in place.) I have found my pampered chef stone bar pan works best.
Transfer batter to this cookie sheet and gently spread to all edges. Once entire sheet is covered, press batter firmly into the pan. You can use a large spatula or your hands for this step. To prevent the batter from sticking to your hands, wet your hands or place a sheet of parchment or wax paper between your hands and the batter before pressing. Pressing them in is key. I use my flexible cutting board under the spatula is the best.
Bake 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees. The bars are done when they just begin to turn brown at the edges. Don’t wait too long or they may burn. Bars will be moist and crumbly when removed from the oven, but they come together as they cool. (It may take a few attempts for you to figure out the best amount of time in your own oven.)
Let bars cool completely (about 90 minutes on a cooling rack; longer if you don’t have a cooling rack). Transfer bars and parchment paper to a cutting board and cut into 24 bars.
If you like your bars a little firmer and sweeter, store them in the fridge. They also freeze well for later use; and they can be eaten frozen as well if you forget to thaw them out.
Most granola bars are loaded with corn syrup, soybean oil, coloring and flavoring, and preservatives. These homemade bars are actually good for you and the perfect on the go snack.