I love finding recipes that my boys like (no surprise). We usually tweak recipes the boys want to try -- to get the right textures for my sensory boy who has a hard time chewing things with chunks or varying textures (chewy/crunchy at the same time). Once we hit the right combo we stick pretty close to our main recipe from there. This granola bar recipe originated from here...we have changed it a bit. Healthy, texture friendly, not too sweet, really really yummy. These are nice and chewy, which is a must for my boys. They don't like the rock hard crumbly things. These are perfect. My husband and I find ourselves nibbling away at them too, so there is an excuse to make more. And my 6 year old loves helping (who doesn't love squishing it all into the pan). And these are SO MUCH BETTER than any store bought granola bars.
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup sunflower seeds (roasted/salted OK too)
1 cup organic shredded coconut
1/2 cup golden flaxseed, freshly ground
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2/3 cup raw honey (a little less if you use sweetened coconut)
1/2 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
2-3 Tbsp organic unsweetened peanut butter or almond butter
3 Tbsp organic light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
Up to 1 1/2 cups chopped dried fruit
(soft/chewy such as apricots, cranberries, raisins)
This time I used 1/2 cup finely chopped peaches we dehydrated
Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF.
Wipe a little butter in a 9x13 baking dish and line it with parchment or foil.
Toss the oats, sunflower seeds and coconut together on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 or so minutes.
Stir it half way through.
Remove from the oven and pour into a big bowl.
Add the ground flax.
Reduce the oven temperature to 300ºF.
Heat the butter, honey, peanut butter, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan.
Bring to a boil and remove from heat - stir.
Stir it into the dry mix - keep stirring until all fully coated.
Stir in the dried chopped fruit.
Spread it in the prepared baking dish, pushing down to make a nice compact even layer. Wet your fingers - it will be easier to push it down without getting all sticky.
Bake for about 20-30 minutes.
Cool for an hour more before gently flipping the slab out of the baking dish - peel off the foil/parchment.
Cut into squares.
Store in an air-tight container.
Some good variations include cinnamon, almonds, or sunflower nut butter...find your favorite!
goodness:: You know granola bars...they are packed with vitamins and fiber and all kinds of good stuff. Sunflower seeds - packed with vitamin E, B1, manganese, magnesium, copper, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B5 and folate. Blackstrap molasses - iron, calcium, copper, manganese, potassium and magnesium. And that is just two of the ingredients!
If you prefer to soak and dehydrate your oats before baking with them, here is how you can do it...