Chocolate and Almond Chewy Granola Bars

This coming month of July will be Fam Fun time in Colorado. That’s right, we’re packing the kid, packing the gear and going to play outside for a full month. Wahoo! We aim to spend most of our time there climbing boulders. In bouldering, routes are called problems. We decided we want to climb 99 problems (get it?).

Spending that much time in the Great Outdoors will require easy, portable food that we can just shove in our mouths and keep on truckin’. And when I think “quick snack and go play”, I get flashbacks of school recess, chomping on the smooshed-up granola bar that was stuck between the books in my school bag.

Needless to say, I’m positive that I’ll be baking a lot of batches of my favorite granola bars in the coming weeks. Making my own is a pleasure of mine because I know exactly what goes in them. Plus, I know they’re as fresh as can be since they haven’t spent months on a store shelf.

These bars are extremely versatile. You can swap the nuts, seeds and dried fruits with whatever you have on hand. There are a few exceptions though. The rice syrup is the glue that holds everything together to perfection. It’s the most effective binder for a granola bar. We all know that, like a sushi, a granola bar has to be able to hold itself – so no skipping the rice syrup! Also, make sure that you use quick/1-minute/fast-cooking oats – not old fashioned rolled oats or steel cut oats. This ensures that the bars are chewy and soft. If you’re not into oats and you want to swap for another grain (quinoa for instance), make sure that it’s a fast cooking flake.

Happy snacking !

Chocolate and Almond Chewy Granola Bars

Ingredients

Bars

  • 1 C quick oats
  • 1 C  crispy rice cereals
  • 1/4 C roasted almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 C roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 C dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1/4 C semi sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2C rice syrup
  • 1/4C peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Topping

  • 1/3 C melted chocolate + 2tsp coconut oil
  • 1Tbsp finely chopped roasted almonds

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°C;
  2. Grease a loaf pan and place a parchement paper to cover up the bottom and the two large sides (leaving you wings of paper to pull out the bars once their ready);
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the oats, crispy rice cereals, almonds, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, chocolate and cinnamon;
  4. In a small sauce pan, combine the rice syrup and peanut butter and stir until the peanut butter is all melted and integrated in the syrup. Add the vanilla;
  5. Let the rice syrup and peanut butter mix cool to room temperature;
  6. Once cooled, mix the rice syrup and peanut butter mix in the oats mix and stir thoroughly;
  7. Pour the mix in the loaf pan and press it really hard with the bottom of a glass (you can grease up the bottom of the glass to prevent from sticking);
  8. Bake the loaf for 20 minutes;
  9. Remove the loaf from the oven and press again with the bottom of the glass (being very careful as it will be super hot and sticky);
  10. Spread the melted chocolate and coconut oil mix on top of the bars and sprinkle the finely chopped almonds while it’s still melted and sticky;
  11. Refrigerate the loaf for at least 1 hour;
  12. Remove the loaf from the pan by pulling gently on the parchement paper wings;
  13. Cut into 10-12 bars and snack away!

Cheers,

JM

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