This is the first of the three chewy granola bar recipes that I developed, and it I was pleased with the results. In each of these, I worked very hard to keep from adding excessive amounts of added sugars so the binding in this one is ground prunes.
Adult tasters loved this bar; the children found it to be a bit on the tart side. Don't worry there are two child-friendly recipies that follow.
With sunflower seeds, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), chia and the prunes, these bars are a nutrition powerhouse that are a great energy source on the go. I like to have a half of one after an intense workout or perhaps a whole one, alongside an apple, for a busy-day lunch. Enjoy!
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not quick cook)
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/3 cup raw pepitas
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon white chia seeds (see note)
1/3 cup dried cherries
3/4 cup pitted prunes
3 tablespoons almond butter
3 tablespoons raw honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ounce of dark chocolate, 60 % cacao or higher, chopped into "chips"
1 – Peheat oven to 300 degrees. Meanwhile, line baking pan with two sheets of overlapped foil (see photo, below).
2 –Spread oats onto a baking sheet and toast for 3-5 minutes, stirring once or twice and watching carefully as to not burn. Set aside to cool.
3 – While oats are cooling, place prunes into the base of a food processor and puree until a thick paste has formed. You can also purchase prune puree in well stocked grocery and health food stores; if you do this, substitue 1/2 cup prune puree and omit this step. Set prune paste aside.
4 – In large bowl, combine oats, sunflower seeds, pepitas, chia and cherries.
5 – Using hands (it is helpful to have gloves here) work prune puree, almond butter and honey into oat mixture until well combined.
6 - Sprinkle vanilla over mix and work through thoroughly.
7 - Mix in chocolate chips.
8 - Press mixture into pan. Using an object with a flat bottom, press the mixture evenly and uniformly into pan. As shown in the photo below, I used the bottom of a small Kinetic Go Green Storage Container that I obtained from the NutriMirror store.
9 - Place pan in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes or until warm and the surface has begun to shine slightly from the heat. The objective here is NOT to cook the bars, just to fuse the ingredietns together.
10 - Allow to cool for 10 minutes in pan and then, using foil overhang, lift entire recipe out of pan in one piece. Score into eight even pieces and cool completely. Wrap in wax paper and store in larger container or zipper bag in the refrigerator until ready to eat or pack into your snack sack for the day.
~ Recipe makes 8 bars. ~
Nutritional data* per 1/8 of recipe:
*Nutritional data calculated using ingredient compilation program and is deemed close but not exact.