Goody Goody Granola Bars
Yields: 16-20 bars Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Nutrient dense and full of flavor, these homemade granola bars are better than any store bought box you could buy. Protein, iron, healthy fats as well as various other vitamins and minerals, these are one tasty treat!
3 1/4 cups crisp rice cereal
2 1/4 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup brown rice syrup
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/8 cup +1 tablespoon coconut oil (plus an additional 1 teaspoon for greasing pan)
3/4 cup natural peanut butter (or any nut butter, or nut butter substitute, such as seed butter)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoon mini chocolate chips
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine rice cereal, oats and shredded coconut, and 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, and set aside.
2. In a saucepan, combine the brown rice syrup, maple syrup, coconut oil, peanut butter, salt and vanilla, and heat on low just until smooth, approximately 2-4 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and gently fold into dry mixture, making sure wet mixture is evenly distributed.
4. Use the 1 teaspoon of coconut oil to grease a 9 x13 glass pan. Pour combined mixture into pan and pan down evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top, again, using the spatula to gently press them into place. Place in the refrigerator for about 1 hour to harden. Cut and enjoy!
*Granola bars are best kept refrigerated.
I have made these so many different ways with different combinations of similar ingredients, and the only way you can mess these up is having a disproportionate ratio of dry to wet ingredients. Then, the granola bars are just too crumbly and although the crumbs are always tasty, it is just not a granola bar.
Coconut oil is rich in medium chain fatty acids and this oil is stable when slightly heated and at room temperature. Brown rice syrup is still a form of sugar, just less refined, holding onto some nutrients from brown rice. Additionally, it is lower on the glycemic index than other sugars. A bit of maple syrup adds an extra sweet touch. These could be made without chocolate, but why??? Chocolate only makes things better in my book!
Additional options instead of shredded coconut (or in addition to) would be seeds such as sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, or even chia. Just make sure you remember the one rule with these – keep the ratio of dry to wet ingredients! Any granola ingredients are always an alternative. Chopped dried fruit or other grains (puffed or cooked) can also fit right in these bars.
I recently made these in a review with Nuttzo (just because I love the stuff), a nut and seed butter, no peanuts (although, some varieties do have peanuts). (Here is a link to the review.) So, with Nuttzo, no need to add extra nuts or seeds, as so many are already packed right in! Whatever nut or seed butter you choose, the great part of these, is the nutritiously dense factor of these bars. My kiddos eat these as a dessert, as they do have chocolate and brown rice syrup. Yet, still as a dessert, there are various vitamins and minerals from whatever nut/seed butter used. Additionally, there is a good dose of protein and fiber, rounding out a great treat!
Other great desserts that can double as snacks: