Monday, May 13, 2013

Soft and Chewy Homemade Granola Bars

I'm past 22 weeks now and I've been spending my spare time obsessing about baby furniture and baby names and doing anything and everything I can to get ready for baby. Every night I scour pinterest and mommy blogs and baby naming apps and stress about room colors and gliders, nicknames and initials and name spellings. Then I tell myself I can't get so worked up over these things, so I hit the yoga mat for a prenatal yoga class. I zen out for an hour and a half in class and go back to being my happy, calm self...which lasts about another hour before the zen wear off and I stress some more about changing tables and strollers and diaper bags. It's a vicious cycle.

When I can't make it to yoga class, another way to get to my happy place is by baking. I love making my own granola bars, and they are a great, healthier alternative to cupcakes and brownies when I'm craving something sweet (which is, like, every second of every day). I can customize them with any ingredient under the sun, and I can healthify them to my liking as well. These guys have organic unsweetened coconut, dried cranberries and raisins, and they get their sweetness from agave and just a few tablespoons of brown sugar.You wanna add chocolate chips? Go for it! Dried apricots? Yum! If you're a peanut butter lover, you could stir in a tablespoon or two of PB. The possibilities are endless with this recipe, plus you can make them in minutes. Which is great when this pregnant girl is craving something sweet and chewy to help me chill out!  So if you see me walking down the street chanting Ohms and carrying a fistfull of granola bars in my hand, you might want to stay away. Consider yourself warned.

Soft and Chewy Granola Bars

  • 2 1/2 cups  old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup whole walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup agave
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup organic unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line bottom and sides of a 8-inch or 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil. Add oats and walnuts to a small baking sheet and bake 5 minutes, stir and bake another 3 to 5 minutes until lightly toasted. Check frequently to make sure they don't burn! Transfer to a large bowl.
Combine coconut oil, agave, brown sugar and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until coconut oil melts and the sugar completely dissolves.
Pour sugar mixture in to bowl with toasted oats and walnuts. Mix well. Let cool about 5 minutes then add the coconut, cranberries and raisins. Stir to combine. Transfer oat mixture to lined pan then use a rubber spatula or your fingers to firmly press the mixture into the pan. (Press hard here, this way the bars will stay together once cooled and cut). Cover then refrigerate at least 2 hours. Remove block of granola mixture from pan then peel away aluminum foil. Cut into 12 bars.

1 comment:

  1. Those look great! And so fun for you to be baby crazy. Those were the good ol' days for me. ;)