Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chocolate Granola Bars (Grain Free)

I came across this recipe for Paleo-friendly granola bars and promptly pinned it to my Grain Free Treats Board. That was not enough for me, though, so I set about making my own version. I decided to use my beloved Grade B Maple syrup instead of honey and I used up most of the random bits of nuts we had in the house, but still was a little short of the amounts in the original recipe. As a result, I added some cashew butter to the liquid ingredients and it turned out great! I also wound up substituting mini chocolate chips for the dried fruit (didn’t have any) and they melted when I added the hot liquid portion to the dry ingredients. Should have seen that one coming. But the happy accident just turned these into a delicious chocolate version that was a hit with me and the Cute Man. I think I could even have cut down on the maple syrup since the chocolate added quite a bit of sugar, too. Maybe next time I’ll actually get some raisins OR still use the chips but save them until the very end and press them into the top, forming a chocolate chip layer on top.

I’ve been trying to get more coconut oil into my diet (it’s good for you!) and it works really well in this recipe. The taste melds well with the other ingredients and it acts as a good binder, since it solidifies at room temperature. I still plan to keep these in the fridge – they tend to go all gooey if the temp is even slightly above room temperature. All in all, I’m really glad to have these on hand. They’re great for a quick breakfast of afternoon snack.

Chocolate Granola Bars (Grain Free)
Adapted from Joyful Abode

2.5 cups assorted nuts and seeds
1 cup dried fruit or mini chocolate chips
2 cups shredded coconut
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup (can omit or use less, especially if using chips)
1/2 cup cashew or almond butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Use your food processor to pulse 1 cup of the nuts into a rough chop and put them in a medium sized bowl. Pulse the other 1.5 cups of nuts and seeds more finely and add to the bowl. Add your fruit or chocolate chips and the dried coconut. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine oil, maple syrup, cashew or almond butter, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. Cook until the mixture bubbles, then pour over the nut mixture. Stir to combine completely. Press your mixture into a parchment-lined pan. Cool 2-3 hours (or in the fridge or freezer for less time), then remove from the pan and cut into bars.

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