Coconut Almond Granola Bars!

My good friend Jess (check out her blog here!) got me an awesome Pampered Chef brownie pan for my birthday. I was super excited to make granola bars in it, because the ones I make usually end up looking like cookies rather than bars. Also, the last time I made them, I baked them on the wrong side of the wax paper (who knew there were two sides?) and they all stuck to it and it was a giant fail. So now that I have the pan, they came out in perfect squares and did not stick – win! I have also tried making these with peanut butter chips and peanut butter (omitting the coconut and using less oil), so you can make these in any variation you like. Enjoy and let me know how they turn out!

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Chocolate Almond Granola Bars

Adapted from: Fit Foodie Finds

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes (plus extra for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup**
  • dark chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and spray a brownie pan with coconut nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium size bowl, mix together oats, coconut flakes, and cocoa powder. Then, add the rest of the ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until thoroughly mixed.
  3. To form bars, wet hands and scoop a palm sized amount of dough. Press into each brownie well, making sure to press them very firmly (they will keep their bar shape better this way). You may need to keep wetting your hands so the dough doesn’t stick to your hands. Your hands will get messy!
  4. For garnish, add more coconut flakes (press into bars).
  5. Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes, just enough to turn the coconut flakes golden brown. Wait until cooled to remove them from the pan with a plastic spoon/spatula (I put the whole pan in the freezer for a bit).
    Nutrition Info (Per bar, from My Fitness Pal):
    Calories 211
    Fat 10 g (6 g saturated)
    Fiber 3 g
    Carbs 28 g
    Sugars 9 g
    Protein 4 g

**So you’re probably thinking “Corn syrup is not healthy! What are you doing?” The recipe I adapted this from calls for brown rice syrup. I could not find this at any grocery stores or Trader Joe’s, but she says she found it at Whole Foods (which I don’t have nearby). I tried to substitute agave, but it’s too thin – the bars didn’t stick together as well. So I stuck with light corn syrup. I chose light over dark because it had less ingredients. But I was curious about this brown rice syrup, so I looked it up. Turns out its only made from two ingredients: brown rice and water! Less ingredients, and ones you can actually recognize/pronounce, is always better. However, it has almost twice the sugar (22 g per 2 tbsp vs. 12 g in corn syrup) and more calories (150 per 2 tbsp vs. 120 in corn syrup). What does the nutrition student recommend? In terms of overall health, the more natural product is better (brown rice syrup), although you will need to remember that sugar is sugar and calories are calories. Since I couldn’t find it, I stuck with light corn syrup. Let me know if anyone finds the brown rice syrup and how it turns out! Maybe you could use less to reduce calories/sugar while still making them chewy? If I ever find it I will make them again and update the recipe 🙂

 

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