Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Loaded ChocoNutty Homemade Granola Bars

These little delights make the perfect mid-afternoon snack!
Especially when accompanied by an ice-cold glass of milk.
And especially when you're just a teensy bit sad 
because you have finally realized that you only have 2 days of work left 
with all those babies you've become ever so attached to in the last 4 months.
And especially when you need an excuse,
 ANY excuse
 to avoid packing.
Turns out fitting 4 months of your life into one suitcase is no easy feat.
Probably why I always end up packing into the wee hours of the morning the night before..
They are loaded with some protein and fiber,
a heck of a lot cheaper than buying a box at the grocery store,
and simply scrumptious!

Loaded ChocoNutty Granola Bars

3 c. rolled oats
2/3 c. whole wheat flour
3 T. flaxseed or wheat germ (optional)
3/4 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla extract
5 T. butter
3 T. almond butter (or any nut butter of your choosing)
3 T. unsweetened applesauce
1/3 c. honey
4 T. packed brown sugar 
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
1/2 c. raisins
1/2 c. almonds, chopped
1/2 c. unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Grease a 9x13 baking dish.
(Make sure you get the corners.  My corners always stick for some reason!)
In a large bowl, combine first 11 ingredients and mix well.
Fold in the chocolate, coconut, almonds, and raisins.
Firmly press dough into a layer of even thickness in the bottom of the prepared pan.
(I just use my fingers for this step.  Spoons just complicate things.)
Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minuets.
(It should be golden brown and slightly crunchy around the edges and nice and firm in the middle.)
Let them cool for about 10 minuets before cutting into bars.
(As big of little as you fancy.  I always tend to cut mine on the big side and end up with about a dozen bars.)
Let them cool completely before removing bars from the pan.

Happy Healthy Treats. Oh Happy Life.

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