Saturday, July 10, 2010

chewy chocolate chip granola bars


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


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. 

These bars keep for about two weeks, wrapped well and stored in  an airtight container.


*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.

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