Wednesday, May 13, 2015

snack 'n go

I've been a dedicated granola bar consumer since I was in high school. They've always been a quick, convenient and portable snack that bordered the "healthy" category. I also loved that I could get away with eating these for breakfast, even though there were chocolate chips sprinkled throughout. 
But when I say "healthy" they're not even close. Most store-bought granola bars are loaded with sugar and other preservatives, so these bars contain honey, unsweetened cocoa powder and natural peanut butter to pack in the flavor. Now before I get attacked for adding mini chocolate chips... yes I know they contain sugar but if you're really being careful just don't add them. It's as easy as that!
I keep the bars in individual snack bags and store them in the fridge. I love that I can grab one, run out the door and know that I'm getting a snack with some protein and nutrients, but really it just tastes like a chocolatey treat. 

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars (no bake & healthy!!)
Recipe adapted from here
Serves 12 bars

Recipe Notes-
- I reduced the amount of chocolate chips from 1 cup to ½ cup instead. I also eliminated the brown sugar and just put a bit more honey. To make these even healthier, I used brown rice cereal and added ground flaxseed.
- The ground flaxseed is optional, but if you’re not going to use it then you may need to add an extra ¼ cup of oats instead to help thicken the mixture.
- The chocolate chips contain sugar, but these can be omitted for an even healthier bar.

¾ Cup honey
heaping ½ cup natural creamy peanut butter
¼ Cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. salt
2 Cups oats (I used old-fashioned but whatever you have should be fine)
2 Cups crispy rice cereal (I used brown rice cereal that I got from the health food section of my grocery store)
¼ Cup ground flaxseed (optional- see recipe note above)
½ Cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

1. Line an 8x8-inch pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang. Set aside.
2. In a large, microwave-safe bowl combine honey and peanut butter and microwave on high power for 1 minute, or until the mixture is thinned a bit. Stir to combine
3. Stir in the cocoa powder, vanilla and salt. Add the oats, rice cereal and ground flaxseed. The mixture will be thick, just continue to stir until the mixture is completely combined. Add the chocolate chips and mix.
4. Press the mixture into the prepared pan until it is smooth and even. Cover the pan and place it in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours before cutting. Use the overhang to lift the bars out of the pan, and place on a cutting board. Cut into 12 bars and keep the bars covered (or individually wrapped) in the refrigerator. Bars will keep for one month in the refrigerator, or tightly wrapped in the freezer for up to 6 months.

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