Friday, August 31, 2012

Super-Powered Granola Bars

I think I have died and gone to heaven.

Our naturopath gave me this recipe during our appointment for Chloé the other day.  It was almost worth the price of the consultation just to get this recipe ;)  These granola bars are one of the tastiest snacks I have ever eaten.  This also happens to be an allergy/intolerance-friendly recipe that is packed to the brim with all things healthy.  

This recipe originates from EcoParent.  The naturopath gave me a couple of recipes she had gotten from this magazine, and they all sound super delicious.  And, of course, are uber healthy.  My fave :)

I don't really consider myself to be a crunchy mama.  But I came across this video on youtube earlier this week (as well as the follow-up video) and laughed as I found myself identifying with more than a few things.  Then I took a peek on-line at EcoParent, which I didn't know about at all, and found myself wanting to get a subscription.  

Hmm.... maybe I'm a little crunchier than I thought??? 

After all, I buy into alternative therapies, such as osteopathy and naturopathy.  I breastfed both kids, wore them in slings, co-slept and used cloth diapers until their sensory issues became evident.  And though I do find myself on occasion using processed foods for convenience when life is just too busy with the kids, I am definitely all for eating as little pre-packaged and processed foods as possible.  And I get super excited over recipes such as these with all sorts of random superfoods.

Yup.  Probably a little bit crunchy... lol.

But I digress.

After getting this recipe from our naturopath, I walked into our house, went straight to the kitchen and immediately got to work on these.  That's just how yummy I thought they were going to be.

These are a little more time consuming to make than other granola bar recipes, such as my no bake hemp seed granola balls.  You've got to roast a few of the ingredients and later, melt a few things together.  It's not terribly tough, but just a few more steps than many other traditional granola bar recipes.

But let me tell you... these are soooooooooooooooooo worth the effort.  I think these must be the best gosh-darned granola bars I have ever tried in my life.

Now, I'm usually pretty able to make delicious treats, have one, and then leave them in the kitchen without further obsessive temptation.  For instance, I can control myself without effort around peanut butter brownies, even though I LOVE peanut butter.  Same with some of my favourite sinful muffins, such as muffins that taste like donuts and maple syrup muffins.

But I somehow had a repeat of when I made that delicious homemade French brioche earlier this year...

I think I had two of these bars in the afternoon before picking the kids up from daycare.  And then another upon my return.  And I then had to use every ounce of willpower in me to prevent myself from having a fourth before going to bed.

Even Logan is in LOVE with these.  Yesterday, I packed two HUGE pieces for our visit to the hospital for his eye blinking.  I figured that that would be plenty of food for both him and myself, even if we got stuck there a long time.  


He had polished off BOTH of the huge squares by 10:30 a.m., barely leaving me a bite!!!  And each was a big portion even for me!

Ah well... This'll be a great way to stuff him full of healthy things.

Because not only are these delicious.  But they couldn't be healthier if you tried.  Flax, chia, hemp... what else could you ask for??

Now, I'm not sure what exactly makes these so darned delicious.  So I'll tell you how I made mine so that you can replicate.  Or choose to do differently.  Whatever suits your fancy.

As an aside, this is the first time that I've ever used coconut oil (which I had coincidentally picked up at the health food store just a few days earlier).  So I'm not sure if that's part of why they were so good too.  

I used:
  •  brown sugar, because I didn't have any coconut sugar
  •  maple syrup, only because I prefer it's flavour to agave 
  • dried cherries because I didn't have goji berries or dried cranberries.  Mmm... I think that the mix of slightly salty with the sweetness of the dried cherries is part of what I loved so much!
  • chocolate chips, because I didn't even know what cocoa nibs were until googling them!
I omitted the lemon zest, only because Jérôme doesn't love lemon and I thought it kinda sounded weird in a granola bar anyway.

Just a quick note also, that I get my hemp, chia and ground flax at Costco.  Which is also where I had gotten my dried cherries.

2 C oats (or gf oats) (I used large-flake)
1 C sunflower seeds (I used raw unsalted)
3/4 C unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 C hemp hearts 
1/4 C chia seeds
1/2 C ground flax seeds
1/3 C coconut oil
2/3 C maple syrup (or agave syrup)
1/4 C coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C goji berries (or cranberries)
1/2 C cocoa nibs (or chocolate chips - for dairy-free chocolate chips, you can buy these ones here
1 tsp. lemon zest

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.  Line an 8 x 12 inch baking dish with parchment paper.

2.  Toss the oats, sunflower seeds, and coconut in a bowl and spread out on a dry sheet pan and toast for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.  (Don't skip this step - they're not nearly as tasty if you don't toast everything).

Oops!  I can't read directions.  I also toasted the hemp seed.  Turned out fine :)

3.  In a small pot, melt the coconut oil, maple syrup, coconut sugar, and salt on medium heat until it boils.  Stir for one minute and take off heat.  

4.  Add vanilla and toss over oat mixture, adding all the rest of the ingredients, and combine well.  (Note: the chocolate chips melt into the mixture as you stir.  If you prefer they be whole, wait for the mixture to cool before adding chocolate chips.  Though I liked it this way, as it gave the entire bar a bit of a chocolatey flavour).

5.  Pour mixture into parchment lined 8 x 12 inch baking pan.

6.  Bake at 300 degrees Farenheit for about 20 minutes, until golden.  (Note: I cannot read directions and only noticed the temperature change while typing.  I baked mine at 350 degrees and love how they came out a bit crunchy.  But if you prefer less crunchy bars, you'd be better to follow the original directions).

7.  Let cool in pan before cutting in squares. (Or just scoop it all directly into your mouth!).

Makes 30 squares

Tip:  If using the goji berries, try eliminating the lemon zest for a slightly more conventional granola bar flavour.

Difficulty level: moderate 


Ashley said...

Sweet i knew something about food that yiu didn't, haha. I'm a bit of a cocoa nib nut... Eat em wuth dried cherries and sunflower seeds in trail mix.

Stacey said...

Totally trying these... Thanks for sharing!!

Kim said...

I can't wait to make these! They sound delicious:)

Wendy said...


Steph said...

Has anyone tried freezing them?

Food for Thought Linds said...

I haven't, but I'm almost positive they'd be fine. I've frozen lots of other types of homemade granola bars.

Food for Thought Linds said...

P.S. You can always check my tags at the bottom of posts, because I tag posts as freezer-friendly.

Lyne said...

I dreamed of making granola bar last night....and this morning I had an email with this post from you, dear Lindsay....ran to the Health food store and was surprised they had all, including cocoa nibbs...and making them NOW!!! Thank you, I'm excited! :)

Food for Thought Linds said...

I promise you... these will NOT disappoint!