By Aleshia Pinto, Less With Bread http://lesswithbread.me
Granola bars are one of those things that you definitely should be cautious about buying at the grocery store. Filled with a long list of preservatives and a high amount of sugar, even the self-proclaimed healthy ones aren’t that great for you.
Homemade bars are entirely customizable, and so easy to make that you’ll be making a different batch every Sunday for snacks throughout the week. You can add any variety of nuts and fruit, play around with different types of grains, like quinoa or puffed rice, and different kinds of natural sweeteners.
These bars are chewy and filling, and adding a scoop of protein powder instantly turns them into a great staple to snack on your way home from the gym.
OATMEAL POWER BARS
- 1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats
- 1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts (i used almonds, dried blueberries, pepitas and shredded coconut)
- 1/3 cup peanut butter or another nut butter, melted
- 1 very ripe banana, mashed
- 5 tablespoons melted butter (or coconut oil can be substituted for a healthier version)
- 1/2 cup honey (maple syrup can be substituted)
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 scoop of protein powder (optional but a great way to turn these into an after workout treat)
- Preheat the oven to 350C. Line an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides.
- Lightly grease the parchment paper and the exposed pan, or coat with a non-stick spray.
- Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter or oil, honey, banana and water.
- Toss the wet ingredients with the dry, and add the melted peanut butter, mixing until the mixture is evenly crumbly.
- Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan.
- (A piece of plastic wrap can help with this, as you press down on the back of it.)
- Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges — don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops too.
- They will seem almost under-baked in the center, but will set fully when cooled.
- Remove from pan using the over hanging sides of parchment paper and let cool completely on a rolling rack.
- To make cutting easier with less crumbling, chill in the fridge for 30 minutes prior to cutting into bars.
Enjoy on it’s own or with Greek yogurt for a healthy, filling, protein packed breakfast or snack!