Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Salty, Chocolatey, Nutty, Protein-y Granola Bars

I'm a bit of a snacker.  I need a lot of food to keep me going throughout the day.  At my job, they keep all of these snacks in the back (Cheetos, Oreos, Oatmeal Cream Pies, etc.) and I find myself eating those all the time.  Especially the Cheetos.  I love Cheetos.  Buy anyway, I realized I needed a healthier snack to keep me from diving into salt and high-fructose corn syrup land (aka the snack table).  So I came up with these little babies.

I've always wanted to make granola bars.  Mainly because they are so expensive when you buy them prepackaged.  And the cheap ones are really just candy bars that trick you into thinking they are good for you.  I think some of the expensive ones may be that way too.  These are great to make at home because you save a ton of money and you know exactly what goes in them.  Not that you can't read the label on the back of the packaged granola bars, but sometimes I don't know what that stuff is.  I prefer my ingredients to contain less than 4 syllables.

I kind of made this recipe up based on what was in my pantry and I was surprised by how well they turned out.  They are the perfect ratio of salty and sweet, which is my weakness.  Feel free to get creative: dried fruit, white chocolate, pistachios, almond butter, pretzels, etc.  Just make sure you add enough of the sticky stuff (I used maple syrup, but honey would work as well.  You could use corn syrup, but why would you do something like that?).  I only added 2 scoops of protein to these, because I thought it might make the bars gritty, but you couldn't even tell it was there.  So I will probably double that next time.  Just have fun with it!

Oh, and did I mention this is the simplest thing I've made in a long time?  These are ridiculously easy.  Which is always a plus in my book.

Salty, Chocolatey, Nutty, Protein-y Granola Bars

2 cups oats
1 cup walnuts
1/4 cup chia seeds
a handful of coconut (feel free to use more, I just wanted to trick my husband into thinking it wasn't there)
1/4 cup olive oil
a big handful of chocolate chips
a spoonful of peanut butter
a spoonful of Nutella
half of a stick of butter, melted
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of maple syrup
2 scoops of protein powder (I used chocolate flavored)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine oats, walnuts, chia seeds, coconut and olive oil.  Roast in a 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.  I roasted mine in a glass casserole dish.  If you have one, use it.  It was really great for this recipe.

Remove the oat mixture.  In a large bowl, combine oat mixture with remaining ingredients.  Mix well to combine.

Add mixture to glass casserole pan (it should be a little oily from when you roasted the oats, so no need for parchment paper or baking spray).  Smoosh all of the ingredients together with the back of your spoon.  Cook in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes.

Let cool for a few minutes and then slice into 12 or 16 pieces.  Now get yo' snack on!  These keep for up to a week in a sealed, airtight container.

Any ideas for future granola bar ingredients?  I'm hooked on these, but I need some ideas for my next batch!

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