Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Homemade Granola Bars

Granola bars are supposed to be made with high quality, natural ingredients. However, when you purchase a processed product, you get tons of added sugar, partially hydrogenated fats, extra sodium and possibly a dash of high fructose corn syrup. You can find a decent Organic granola bar, but you will pay a premium. I found a great recipe for homemade granola bars and tweaked it just a bit. Plus, it's easy enough to get the kids involved for a fun afternoon of cooking. These bars have more fiber, less sugar, no trans fats, and fewer calories. My four year old had a blast making these simple, tasty bars! Bonus: Takes only 10 min to prepare!

Homemade Granola Bars
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1 cup roasted peanuts, almonds and/or cashews (I did a mix)
1/2 cup natural peanut butter (unsweetened)
1/2 cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup Organic raisins, dried cranberries &/or golden raisins, soaked in water to soften, I used a mix of all 3
2 eggs
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9×9-inch baking pan with non-stick spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Put the oats, nuts, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, and raisins in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs together with the salt and vanilla, then add to the oats in the food processor, and pulse until the mixture becomes a coarse, chunky paste. Fold in the chocolate chips with a spoon. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan and spread evenly, gently pressing down to flatten. Bake for 35 minutes or until firm and golden.
Cool and cut into 24 bars. Store in an airtight container. They will keep for a week in the refrigerator and a month in the freezer.

Gently fold in the chocolate chips.

Press into a 9x9 pan.

The yummy bars ready to be eaten!

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