March 29th, 2010
My intention was good. Make a batch of wholesome, homemade granola bars to last us the week. I grabbed oats, wheat germ and slivered almonds. Up next, dried fruit. Shredded coconut caught my eye. That’s dried fruit. Hmm. What else? Raisins. Nah. Cranberries. Perhaps. Dried apricots. Definitely maybe. Let’s see, what goes well with almonds and coconut?
As I ran through my options—my healthy options—chocolate chips caught my eye. Almonds. Coconut. Choc… No. Focus! Dried fruit. But… No, buts! Well, except, dried fruit is full of sugar. (Right?) Despite my efforts to stay on the fruit-n-nut express, I was derailed. I couldn’t stop thinking about the scrumptious combo of chocolate, almonds and coconut. (Hello, Almond Joys!). It had to be made.
These may not be the everyday snack that I set out to make, but they are a way healthier treat than any candy bar! And I totally nailed wholesome.
Chocolate Almond Coconut Granola Bars
loosely adapted from Alton Brown
(can be served to kids 12+ mos*)
2 c organic old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 c organic slivered almonds
1 1/2 c organic shredded coconut (I used sweetened)
1/2 c organic wheat germ
1/2 c organic honey
1/4 c organic dark brown sugar
2 tbsp unsalted organic butter
2 tsp vanilla
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c organic chocolate chips
fleur de sel (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 9″ baking pan or line with parchment.
2. Spread oats, almonds, coconut and wheat germ on a baking pan. Place in the oven and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. In the meantime, cook honey, brown sugar, butter, vanilla and salt in a saucepan over medium heat until brown sugar has completely dissolved. (If you plan to sprinkle fleur de sel on top of the bars, use 1/4 tsp salt, otherwise use 1/2 tsp.)
4. Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture and stir to combine. Allow it to cool before stirring in the chocolate chips. (If you don’t have time—or don’t want—to wait, you can stir the chocolate in right away, but it will get melty. Not a terrible thing.) Spoon mixture into the prepared baking dish and press down, making sure that it’s evenly distributed. Sprinkle with fleur de sel. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before cutting into squares. They will get crunchy overnight. You can store these in an airtight container for up to a week.
*Note: There is a lot of disagreement about when it’s safest to introduce tree nuts. Some pediatricians believe that it is safe to introduce nuts to children without a personal or family history of food allergies at 12 months. Others encourage parents to wait until 24 or 36 months. A new (2008) study by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that nuts can be introduced to children without a personal or family history of allergies as early as 6 months! Speak to your pediatrician about what’s best for your child.
Also make sure that your child can manage hard, crunchy foods before sharing a piece.