Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

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This week Josh requested granola bars as the snack option. This came as no surprise since my granola is one of his favorite things to eat, so we started looking through various recipes. I’ve made granola bars in the past, but while those bars were very tasty, there still hasn’t been one recipe that we’ve been able to agree is our favorite.

That might have changed.

These bars manage to walk that fine line between crispy and chewy (even crispier even if eaten straight out of the freezer, my preferred method). The toasted oats and wheat germ give them a nuttiness and complexity that make me want to eat about 3 at a time. We, of course, went our traditional pumpkin and sunflower seed route, but I imagine they’d be delicious with a variety of nuts instead.

Oh, and the wheat germ… people get funny about wheat germ. I understand that it can give people vivid flashbacks to 70’s era vegetarianism or something but really, when it comes to recipes like this, it’s one of my favorite ingredients. Yes, it brings a ton of health benefits to the table, but it also brings a really delicious flavor, and that’s what we’re going to focus on. Grab a bag, keep it in your fridge/freezer, and throw in a handful whenever you’re making granola or oatmeal.

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

  • 1 c. regular rolled oats
  • 1/4 c. toasted wheat germ
  • 1/4 c. maple syrup
  • 1/4 c. sunflower seed butter
  • 3 Tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 c. puffed brown rice cereal
  • 1/2 c. pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 c. sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 c. mini semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper well. Set aside.

Pour the oats into a relatively even layer on a large rimmed cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, stirring often, until the oats are fragrant and toasted. Pour the toasted oats into a large mixing bowl. If your wheat germ isn’t toasted, spread it out on the cookie sheet and toast for about 5 minutes, stirring once or twice through the process. Pour into the bowl with the oats. Add the seeds and brown rice cereal and mix to combine.

Lower the oven to 300.

In a small pot over medium-low heat, combine the syrup, sunflower seed butter, brown sugar, coconut oil, and honey. Heat until the oil has melted and the brown sugar is incorporated, stirring often. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and mix, making sure that all of the dry ingredients are well coated.

Press the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Scatter the chocolate chips over the top and press lightly into the surface. Bake for about 15 minutes, and let cool in the pan. I found that slicing them when cool, then placing them, still on the parchment, into the freezer until cold made it very easy to remove them from the paper without having them fall apart.

Keep in a sealed container in your refrigerator or freezer and try not to eat them all in one day.

 

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