Monday, February 13, 2012

Chocolate, Nut and Seed Granola Bars

The recipe I'm sharing with you today I created for a completely selfish reason: myself. I wanted an easy and satisfying snack to take to work with me and thought granola bars would be perfect. I was searching the store for a granola bar that fit my criteria. I wanted something peanut butter and chocolate, something natural, something low in sugar, something with ingredients I could pronounce, something highly nutritious. Do you think I could find it? NO! So I just decided to make some myself. Come to think of it, I don't know why I even bothered looking for something processed, since we hardly buy any of that junk anymore.

I decided to go all-out nutritious and add as many healthy nuts and seeds as I could. The base of the granola bar is oats and peanut butter. I added a little honey for sweetness (but not too sweet!). Then came the nuts and seeds. Chia seeds are all the rage right now. We can't keep them on the shelf at the store. They are tiny little things that pack a ton of nutrition. They are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and protein. They are also teeming with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Wow, not too bad for ch-ch-ch-chia (yes, it's the same plant)!

Next I added flax seed. Flax seed has to be ground in order to reap the benefits, otherwise it will just pass right through you whole. I buy them already ground (Bob's Red Mill is my favorite). You can buy the whole seed and grind them yourself in a coffee grinder. Like the chia seed, flax is high in omega-3's and fiber. They are high in a substance called lignans, which are antioxidants and phytoestrogens that may help prevent cancer.

You may not think of adding sesame seeds to granola bars, but when they aren't toasted they have a very mild, neutral flavor. And, you guessed it, they are very good for you (and your heart). Once again, they have omega-3's, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.

Finally, the last seeds I added are sunflower seeds. I actually used sunflower nuts, which are the dehulled inside "meat" part of the sunflower seed. Like other seeds and nuts, they are super-good for you. I chose to add chopped walnuts to the granola bars, but you can use any nut you like, such as sliced almonds, pecans or peanuts.

This recipe has been at least a month in the making. I went through 6 or 7 batches to get it just right. I still think they are a little crumbly though. I'll keep working on it and if I come up with something better I'll update the recipe. I hope you enjoy what I have created so far!

Chocolate, Nut and Seed Granola Bars
(This is not a low-FODMAP recipe)
makes 12 bars

2/3 cup creamy peanut butter (regular or natural both work)
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup canola or walnut oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats (not quick)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup raw sunflower nuts
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
2 Tbsp. ground flax seed
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds

1. Heat oven to 350º F. Line a 8"x8" baking pan with foil. Lightly grease foil with cooking spray or oil.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the peanut butter, honey, oil and salt. Stir until smooth.
3. In a large bowl, combine the oats, walnuts, sunflower nuts, chocolate chips, ground flax seed, chia seeds, and sesame seeds.
4. Pour the peanut butter mixture into the oat mixture and stir until evenly combined. Press into prepared pan and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

1 comment:

  1. These granola bars looks amazing, it is making my mouth water right now. I am bookmarking this recipe. Thank Dianne!