Hi. My name is Sarah and I am a granola bar addict.
Actually, I’m not. But there was a time when I was pretty much addicted to chewy chocolate chip granola bars. Convinced of their nutritional prowess, I regularly inhaled them in ignorant bliss. Years later, savvy label reading revealed that those bars were about as healthy as an oatmeal cookie merged with a rice crispy treat. Also known as dessert.
Recently, I got to thinking about granola bars, wondering whether it was possible to create a version that would taste as good without the added corn syrup, hydrogenated oils and additives. And after a little trial and error, I am pleased to report that the resulting bar is remarkably similar. Granted, it is still a cookie in granola’s clothing. But the clincher is this: The leading brand of chewy chocolate chip granola bars has close to 40 ingredients. That’s right. Four-zero. Yikes.
I’m here to tell you that this new and improved version has a mere nine ingredients and is just as addictive, which basically means I’m back where I started.
chewy chocolate chip granola bars
yields approximately 36 bars
ingredients 2 cups organic brown rice syrup
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
4 cups organic old fashioned rolled oats (not thick*)
4 cups crispy brown rice cereal(Erewhon or Barbara’s)
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1 tablespoon good quality vanilla
2/3 cup + 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
nonstick cooking spray
Spray a 12 X 17 rimmed baking sheet with non stick spray and set aside. Combine the brown sugar and rice syrup in a medium bowl. Microwave on high for 2 – 1/2 minutes. Stir. Microwave for 2 – 1/2 minutes longer. Add the vanilla and stir until blended.
In a large bowl, mix together the coconut, oats, rice cereal and flaxseed. Add the rice syrup mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir until combined. Add 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips. Stir to incorporate.
Transfer the granola mixture to the prepared baking sheet. Place a piece of waxed paper over the top and press the mixture firmly and evenly into the baking sheet. For best results, use a rolling pin, right over the waxed paper. Works like a charm.
Evenly sprinkle 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips over mixture, pressing to adhere the chips to the bars. Let firm for about one hour. Cut into 1-1/4” x 3” bars. Wrap bars individually in waxed paper. Or just make one giant granola bar and call it a day.
*Thick oats do not work in this recipe. I once used them by mistake and learned the hard way. The thick oats do not absorb enough moisture, resulting in granola bars with a chalky, raw oat texture.