November 18, 2011

Homemade Granola Bars

I know I may be on the slow train, but I just recently tried out agave nectar (Xagave) for the first time. It is great. It has a very similar to honey in texture. But the flavor is not as floral. I love using it in drinks and sauces since I don't worry about it not dissolving completely and being grainy like sugar. But I thought I would try it in baking. So I tried them in my favorite Granola Bar recipe.

My sister flew in a couple months ago to help me drive my kiddos to Utah for a family reunion. And of course, our family needs delicious food on our drive. We were both trying to be healthy - our snacks consisted of apples, grapes, carrots, and celery. But we needed something sweet. These granola bars were perfect. They may not be the lowest in calories, but if I am going to have chocolate chips, it is nice to know they are surrounded by oats, wheat germ, seeds, and other delicious ingredients. But don't worry - these taste so much better than you would expect. Plus now the the added agave factor, the glycemic index is much lower!

This recipe is very versatile: add in dried fruit (I totally recommend this!), nuts, candy, other seeds, whatever you think! Also, if needed for allergies, you can omit the peanut butter. Here are two of my variations.

Granola Bars

from my friend, Jenny M.
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup agave (or 1/2 cup honey)
2 t. vanilla
2/3 c. peanut butter
1/2 cup melted butter
3 Cups oats
½ cup sunflower seeds
2 t. sesame seeds
½ cup coconut
1/3 cup wheat germ
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a mixing bowl combine brown sugar, agave, vanilla, peanut butter, and butter. Stir in remaining ingredients. Press into a greased cookie sheet and bake 20-23 minutes (depending on the chewiness you like). Let cool before cutting and serving.

My Favorite Granola Bars
(White Chocolate Cranberry Bars)

Prepare as above except omit chocolate chips and add in 2/3 c white chocolate chips, 2/3 cup dried cranberries, and 1/2 cup pecans.