Sunday, August 19, 2012

Easy Healthy Granola Bars

I had been on the hunt for a healthy granola bar recipe for awhile.  Recently I came across The Sneaky Chef's "Grab 'n' Go Crispy Granola Bars" recipe.  I made the bars once and we all loved them (including my picky 2 year old)!

I knew I could make them even healthier.  For instance, the recipe calls for 1/2 cup canola oil.  I made them again using 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce.  They tasted even better and the consistency was less crumbly and more chewy once baked!  Next time I plan to make them without the oil altogether and replace it with 1/2 cup of applesauce.  I also made a few other slight changes....enjoy!!

Easy Healthy Granola Bars
(recipe adapted from The Sneaky Chef's "Grab 'n' Go Crispy Granola Bars" recipe)

2/3 cup rolled oats, ground in a food processor to about 1/2 cup
1/2 cup blanched, slivered almonds, ground in a food processor to about 1/3 cup
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup whole ground flaxseed meal
1 cup crispy brown rice cereal (I found Erewhon's Cocoa Crispy Brown Rice cereal in the natural foods section of the grocery store)
1 cup nonfat dry milk
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup dried fruit (optional)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Line a 13-by-9 inch baking pan completely with parchment paper and butter or spray the paper.

In a medium bowl, combine oats, almonds, wheat germ, flax, cereal, dry milk, cinnamon, and salt.  Mix in the canola oil, applesauce, honey, vanilla, and chocolate chips (and/or dried fruit).  Mix well, then pour into the prepared baking pan.  Press down with palm of hand, evenly distributing the mixture into the corners of the dish and bake for about 20-25 minutes.  Check occasionally to prevent burning.

Remove from the oven and using the parchment paper to help you, lift the giant bar out of the pan.  Place on a flat surface and while still warm, cut into small bars.

Store in an airtight container for up to a week, or freeze.  (I like to put them in the refrigerator and eat them cold!)

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