As a child, my lunch bag became a home for granola bars. Mornings were spent peaking into the granola bar box, agonizing over which bar I would chose from the variety pack. For a little girl, that decision was pretty difficult: chocolate chip, peanut butter, s'mores. When I began packing my own lunch, I was sneaky and just put all three in... Just the other day I realized that my children and never experienced the excitement of enjoying a granola bar. And since the month of March is the whole foods challenge on the blog - encouraging everyone to remove (or reduce) processed foods from a regular diet, I thought it would be the perfect time to create a granola bar recipe.
These granola bars have that sweet n' salty taste to them, with a chewy texture. Made from healthy nuts and seeds, sweetened naturally with honey and dried fruit, your household will go, well nuts! for them.
Each batch of these granola bars that I have made have had their own unique flavor. That's the great part about making these from scratch at home. Our favourite addition to the bars are almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts along with pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Other great ideas are cashews, pistachios, or brazil nuts.
We swap around the dried fruit that we use as well. Sometimes we put in cranberries with different varieties of raisins but the possibilities seem almost endless - try dried apricots chopped, chopped dates, small pieces of dried apples or bananas, dehydrated strawberries or blueberries. Get creative and have fun with your choices! You may even want to add in some dark chocolate chips...
And if your family is fortunate enough to not have peanut allergies, you can use natural peanut butter in replace of the almond butter in the recipe.
The best thing about these granola bars are that they are delicious, healthy, require little effort to make and eat, not to mention this is a recipe that is great to get the kids involved with in the kitchen and to pack as a snack in their lunch box.
Grain Free Granola Bars
makes one 8x8 tray of granola bars
2.5 cups mixed nuts and seeds (add about 1/2 cup of each variety of nut/seed)
1 cup dried fruits
1/4 cup shredded coconut
2 tablespoons cacao nibs
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup almond butter (or other nut butter)
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Toss nuts and seeds into a food processor
Give it a few good pulses until the mixture is coarsely chopped (a few larger chunks are fine!)
Pour seed/nut mix into a bowl - add dried fruit, cacao nibs and shredded coconut
In a saucepan over medium low heat, add honey, coconut oil, vanilla, sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and almond butter. Simmer for a few minutes until the liquids become very thick and is very warm to the touch.
Add liquids to the dry mixture and stir to fully incorporate everything.
Scoop into a silicone bakeware or a pyrex lined with parchment paper. Press down flat with a spoon.
Freeze for two hours, then remove from container.
Cut the bars horizontally.
Cut a piece off of one of the granola bars.
Pick it up.
And eat it. You know, just to taste test it... ;)
Store in either the refrigerator or freezer and
devour delight yourself with a morsel every hour day. This is a snack that I sure hope your family falls in love with.
Toss these into a lunch bag for an on-the-go or on-the-road snack. Bring them to your next gathering or serve at a children's birthday party (being careful of nut allergies others may have!). Really, these are great any time, any day!
Does your family love granola bars? What types of nuts/dried fruit will you be adding to these?