Homemade Granola Bars Packed full of Deliciousness.
Luke doesn’t have much a sweet tooth, he generally craves salty foods. I am the one daydreaming about chocolate and brownies and cookies and ice cream. So I find it very interesting that every time I ask Luke what type of granola bars he would like me to make his one and only request is “hmm, I don’t know something with chocolate chips?” Well if something with chocolate chips is his wish then I am all to happy to oblige.
Even though chocolate is his one and only request I know that there is more to his granola bar wish list then his non-kitchen focused mind thinks to ask for. This is why I am such a good match for my husband, it is also why a Nutty Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola bar is a perfect fit for Luke.
My protein loving husband can’t get enough of this nut filled snack and the thin layer of chocolate on top adds just the right amount of sweet to kill your afternoon sugar cravings without having to reach for a candy bar or cookie. Trust me, I know.
Nutty Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola Bars
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup sliced or coarsely chopped almonds
1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanuts
3 tablespoons whole flax seeds
1/4 cup flax seed meal
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup puffed rice
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9 x 13 inch cake pan with aluminum foil and set aside.
On large cookie sheet combine oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, and peanuts. Toast oat mixture in oven for 10-12 minutes.
While oat mixture toasts, heat honey, brown sugar, butter, and peanut butter over medium- high heat in a large sauce pan (4 quarts or larger) stirring frequently. Bring honey mixture to a low simmer, continuously stirring simmer until slightly thickened, or about 5-7 minutes.
Remove oat mixture from oven and stir into the sauce pan. Add flax seed, flax seed meal, cranberries and puffed rice to the sauce pan. Stir together until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Pour granola bar mixture into foil lined 9 x 13 inch pan. Using a spatula press mixture flat, making sure to fill corners. Cover top of granola mixture with a large piece of wax paper and press down mixture firmly with hands or another cake pan. (I like to use a cake pan to help press the mixture down evenly and flat.)
Once mixture is evenly pressed, remove the wax paper and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top. Place pan in warm oven for 3-4 minutes to melt the chocolate. Using a spatula or knife spread melted chocolate over the top, making an even thin layer of chocolate over the entire pan of granola. Place the piece of wax paper over the top of the granola bars and refrigerate until completely cooled. (Again, I like to place a second cake pan over the top pf the wax paper to keep the chocolate layer even and smooth, although this is optional.)
Using foil, pull entire mixture out of the pan in one piece once cooled. Using a sharp knife score the chocolate layer into the size and shape that you intend to cut the bars into. For example, to cut bars about equal in size to store bought bars score the chocolate layer making a line through the middle of the granola horizontally and then score a vertical line every inch and a half or so, this will give you about 18-20 roughly 4.5 x 1.25 inch bars. Using the scored lines in the chocolate as your guide cut the granola into bars.
Bars will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks, or in the freezer for several months. Hint: We like to package about a weeks worth into plastic tubs. We keep one in the refrigerator and the rest in the freezer, pulling new tubs out of the freezer as we need them. I also cut about 4 of the 4.5 x 1.25 inch bars in half to create smaller more toddler friendly size bars.