I got a speeding ticket this morning. And broke a nail. One might suppose that this was the start to a rough day. But I’m sitting here munching on a fabulous granola bar, one that transcends most granola bars as we know them. And drinking a perfect mocha. And watching a few rays of sun breaking through the clouds as I get ready to head to yoga class. And I’m thinking life is pretty darn good.
I found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs and thought, “oh those look good, and healthy too!” And then when I was making them I thought, “hey, what if I add a cup of mini chocolate chips to them?” So…maybe mine are a little less healthy. But you could still do worse. I made some changes in the original recipe, based mostly on what was in my cupboard and a few flights of fancy. And was also reminded that you should always read the recipe all the way through before starting. My mini chocolate chips seemed like an inspired idea until I realized I would be pouring hot liquid on the mixture. Um. I didn’t really think that through. My chips melted. Which really turned out to be wonderful, since the chocolate permeated the bars rather than staying in chip form. It was unanticipated but quite delicious, and a contributing factor in the “gooey” description to be sure. The end result is a chewy, gooey, indulgent (and still somewhat healthy) treat. So take a moment, slow down, and eat one.
Chewy Gooey Granola Bars
(adapted from Chewy Cherry Granola Bars by Canyoustayfordinner.com)
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup puffed rice (or Kashi 7 Whole Grain Puffs, which I happened to have)
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Heat oven to 350˚. Spread oats out on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. In a large bowl, stir together oats, almonds, puffed grain or rice, cranberries, and chocolate chips. Lower oven temp to 300˚.
In a small saucepan, combine butter, honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract and salt. Bring to a boil, cook and stir one minute. Remove from heat and pour over grain and fruit mixture. Mix well until all ingredients are combined. Line a 13 x 9 baking dish with foil and spray with cooking spray. Put mixture in the pan. Wet fingers and press evenly and firmly into the pan. Bake at 300˚ for 20-25 minutes. Cool at least 2-3 hours (I know! But seriously, you need to wait) before cutting into bars. Cut into bars and store in airtight containers, using wax paper to separate the bars so they don’t stick together. Makes 24 bars. 187 calories per bar.