I'm still working on my quest to find healthier bento desserts when I found this recipe on a forum I am on.
OMG, I think this has been my favorite dessert yet. I absolutely love granola bars to begin with and have been desperately looking for a good recipe with no peanut butter in it (F&B hate peanut butter). This one uses honey to bind it all together and no extra sugar added.
Now, I will say that *I* wanted these and opted for chocolate chips & dried cherries. You probably could make them healthier with nuts (F&B won't eat), other dried fruits, coconut, raisins, etc. But I wanted chocolate chips. ;o) And cherry goes realllllllllllllly well with chocolate.
And again, these aren't meant to be health food, just a healthiER treat than store bought. At least I know what's in these. :o)
Don't they look good? The raisin-looking things are actually dried cherries which I got at Aldi. Faith & I actually cut each one in four pieces so there are more chunks of cherry and less big blobs of cherry.
Homemade Granola Bars:
3 1/4 cups rolled Oats (or combination of oats and other whole grains)
3/4 cups Whole Wheat flour (or all-purpose)
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 T. Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups "Stuff" (I used 1 cup chopped dried cherries and 1/2 cup chocolate chips)
Preheat oven to 325.
In a large mixing bowl combine oats, flour, baking soda, and any spices you want to use.
In a separate bowl, combine vanilla, oil, and honey.
Pour wet mix into dry and stir to combine.
Stir in the "stuff" you want to use.
Spray an edged cookie sheet or pan with cooking spray and press VERY firmly into cookie sheet. (I used a 7x11 pan that was perfect for this).
Bake at 325 for 18-20 minutes until top is turning golden brown.
Remove from oven and firmly press down bars again with a spatula or similar, and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
Cut into bars--they are hard to cut if you allow it to completely cool.
Allow to finish cooling completely before removing from pan.
My note - The original recipe was double the amounts posted. I halved it because I'd rather make things fresh and I didn't have enough honey for a full batch. ;o) You could double it or you could make 2 different kinds. I promised Shaun I'd get some dried mango & pineapple plus some coconut and make tropical ones.
My note 2 - If the mixture seems too crumbly, add extra honey by the teaspoon. I'm not sure why it sometimes needs it and sometimes doesn't, but thinking it might depend on the fillers. Add slowly though, it's easier to add more than remove some! ;o)
Check out the dessert tag for some of our other experiments!