Gluten Free - Dairy Free - Soy Free - Refined Sugar Free -Nut Free Options
The days are getting shorter and schedules seem to be a bit more rigid this time of year. Anyone else feeling like the days are busier and nighttime is setting in all too quickly? I don't have children, but I was a public school teacher for 10 years and I can't help but feel the rush of excitement for a new school year, as well as, the jostling of settling into a new autumn routine. It's a quick shift from having sun kissed faces to setting an alarm and wearing warm woolies in the morning.
When shifts happen in life, one of the first things forgotten as we're running out the door is a sack lunch and snack. Before you know it, you peak at the clock and realize that you've forgotten to eat. Even worse yet, you've forgotten to bring something to eat all together. Good things don't happen during times of hanger (hunger mixed with anger). Don't find yourself left without a healthy snack during times of transition and craziness. Make a batch or two of these granola bars and freeze them for future snacking.
These also make a great low sugar snack option for school lunches. Just be sure to send them to school in their allergy friendly version by omitting the peanuts. Try a batch with some sunflower seed butter, seeds, and cinnamon. Ramp up the excitement by adding some dried berries, cacao nibs, and/or seasonal spices!
If you want to learn a bit more about my choice to consume only organic peanuts/peanut butter, reference this blog post.
Peanut Butter Granola Bars
Prep time: 15 min., Cook time: 15 min., Fridge time: 1.5+ hrs.
Makes: 12 - 18 bars
3/4 heaping cup organic unsweetened/unsalted peanut butter (Trader Joe’s or Santa Cruz work well)
3 Tbs. honey or maple syrup (increase to 1/4 cup if you prefer sweeter)
1/2 cup organic peanuts, crushed
1 3/4 cups gluten free rolled oats
Pinch sea salt
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (dairy free)
Preheat oven to 350° F
In a large bowl, mix peanut butter and honey until fully combined.
Pour peanuts into a sealable bag and crush using a rolling pin or jar/can.
Mix nuts, oats, and sea salt into PB and honey mixture. Stir/fold until well incorporated.
Pour and press into a 9 x 9” baking pan (ceramic/glass is best to avoid burning).
Press the ingredients down into the pan with all you’ve got or else the bars will fall apart/crumble once cut. Place a piece of parchment paper over them and press down with the weight of a jar/canned good. Press until nice and solid. Remove the parchment paper and save for step 8.
Bake for 12 - 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven. Using the parchment paper again, press the bars down with a can while the contents are warm. Use a lot of force/weight here, so that they compress once more.
Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to cool.
Melt coconut oil and dark chocolate chips over low heat in a small pot on the stove. Stir frequently to avoid burning.
After 30 minutes, take the bars out of the refrigerator and spread the chocolate topping onto the bars evenly with a spatula.
Return to the refrigerator for at least 1 hour until topping solidifies.
When ready to eat, pull out of the fridge and cut into bars!
Note: These will melt easily in warmer climates, so keep refrigerated until ready to consume.
Storage: Bars will keep for 7 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Batch: Make extra and freeze with layers of parchment in between stacks of bars. These will keep for 6 – 8 weeks in a sealed container in the freezer.
Swap: Use any nut butter/nuts of choice. Make it nut free and school friendly by using seed butter and seeds instead.
Added Treat Factor: Spread an extra layer of nut butter on top of the bars once they’ve cooled. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes then add the chocolate layer and return to refrigerator for one hour. Decadent.
Bonus: Crumble a bar on top of your favorite smoothie or dairy free ice cream and eat it with a spoon!
What are some creative swaps/add-ins that you have tried with this recipe?