Thanks to marathon training, I feel like I’m hungry ALL. THE. TIME. I’m having difficulty fueling my body and staying full. Not a bad problem to have, but I want to be mindful of what I’m putting in my body.
Thankfully, my friend and founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes, Candace Nelson, has come to the rescue with her gluten-free granola bars. Her signature snack always satisfies my sweet tooth while packing a healthy punch of protein and antioxidants. The recipe combines seeds, rolled oats, maple syrup and mini chocolate chips for a delicious, high-energy bar. (Note: It calls for almond butter, but you can sub it out for sunflower butter to make the bars nut-free, should you or your kids have nut allergies).
It’s a simple “mix and bake” type recipe that’s so easy even my little ones can help. Candace also shares a cool tip on how to dress ‘em up, so they taste and look better than any store bought bar. Check out the video to see how they’re made, then try it yourself with the recipe below!
Crunchy Chocolatey Granola Bars
2 cups rolled oats (not quick cook)
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup hemp seeds
2/3 cup ground flax
¼ tsp sea salt
½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup almond butter
2 T coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup mini chocolate chips, semi sweet + 2-3 Tbsp for sprinkling on top
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter an 8×8 square pan and line one way with parchment, with an overhang of about 2 inches on each side.
Spread oats, all seeds and ground flax on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In the meantime, combine maple syrup, almond butter, coconut oil and salt in a saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until coconut oil is melted and mixture is fully emulsified. (Alternatively, heat mixture in a glass bowl in a microwave, stopping to stir occasionally.)
Remove oats from oven and reduce heat to 300 degrees. Add warm maple syrup mixture to warm oats and stir with a spoon until all grains are coated. Quickly add mini chocolate chips and vanilla and continue to stir until chocolate is melted.
Turn mixture out into prepared baking pan. Cover top with parchment paper and use the back of a measuring cup or hard surface to press down hard so the mixture is dense and evenly distributed in the pan. Remove parchment, sprinkle with remaining 2-3 tablespoons of mini chocolate chips and place in oven.
Bake for 25 minutes, until sides are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely. Using the parchment handles, remove the bars from the pan and place on a cutting board. Using a large chef’s knife cut into 12 granola bars.