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Quinoa Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bars

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Granola bars were always a favorite of mine. I’m guilty of being especially fond of the Quaker Chewy bars, until the whole GMO thing came to light and the fact that they use milk powder in their granola mix (I know, right??). Late last night, the craving struck. I wanted a granola bar and I wanted it right then and there. Knowing I couldn’t eat my non-vegan roommate’s chewy bars, I starting digging around for ingredients to make my own. I climbed up onto the counter to get a better view of the contents of my cupboard. With the excitement mounting, I starting picking different grains and testing their raw crunch factor until I found a suitable mix for a granola bar.

And then I remembered the box of Theo drinking chocolate that I scored at the NYC Green Festival this weekend.

I had the makings for a chocolate chip chewy bar, and miraculously all of the ingredients are organic.

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Now, I’ve dabbled with making my own granola before, but this is my first bar excursion. I have to say that I’m quite pleased with myself.

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So what did I use to make these tasty little guys?

  • 1 cup of old fashioned oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill Scottish Ground Oats, but I think any slow cooking chewy oat will work)
  • 1/2 cup of raw millet
  • 1/2 cup or raw white quinoa
  • 1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 raw honey if you’re a honey-vegan, use a scant 1/4c of agave if you abstain from it.
  • 4 shakes (about a 1/4-1/2 tsp) pumpkin pie seasoning. Apple pie will work as well, but it’s really just a mix of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  • 3 tbsp chocolate chips
  • Optional- the Theo chocolate that I used already contains vanilla, but if yours does not add about a 1/2 tsp of vanilla paste or extract.

The breakdown:
In a wide shallow pan, (I used a 12″ nonstick saute pan), turn the heat up to medium high and add your coconut oil. Once it melts spread your oats, quinoa, and millet. Toast them up until they start to smell nutty and get to be a golden brown. Don’t let them start to smell like burning popcorn, if you start to smell that then take them off the heat and give them a stir. If they’re still pale in most places, turn the flame down to medium. Add your salt and cinnamon mix/pumpkin/apple pie seasoning and stir it all up. Now you’ll want to turn the heat down and let it cool until it’s warm to the touch. I know raw honey can be a pain to work with, so make sure the granola is still warm enough to make it easy to distribute the honey but not too hot so as not to denature the healthy properties of it. If you’re adding vanilla, the time to do it is along with the agave or honey. Once your agave/honey (and vanilla, if applicable) are evenly distributed into your granola, wait until it cools a bit further until you add your chocolate chips. I stirred mine in a little too soon and the chocolate melted a bit. Once you’ve mixed all of your ingredients together, line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment or wax paper and press the granola into the pan and let cool. After they’ve set, turn the granola brick out onto a cutting board and slice into 1″ sections.

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