I love snacking. 10:30am rolls around, and I'm rummaging through my desk drawer for something to tide me over 'til lunchtime. 3:00pm hits, and I've got a cup of hot tea and a nibble of something to keep me going 'til the end of the work day. This recipe is the answer to my snacking prayers - packed with protein, full of fiber and empty of artificial sweeteners, it's a snack I don't have to feel guilty about eating! On its own or smeared with jam, almond butter or heck, even Nutella, it's perfectly satisfying.
Guilt-free Granola Bars
(Full disclosure: These actually have a fair amount of calories and fat from the nuts, but it's the good kind so don't sweat it!)
3 cups rolled oats
2 cups mix-ins (I used pistachios, pumpkin seeds, dried apples, sesame seeds, ground flaxseed - but you can use literally any mix of chopped nuts, dried fruits, seeds, baking chips, etc)
1 cup peanut or other nut butter (I used homemade roasted cashew butter - pop over to my blog to see the method!)
1/2 cup honey, maple syrup or brown rice syrup
First, gather your ingredients in a somewhat organized manner and preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the oats and the mix-ins (I roasted the nuts and seeds for a deeper flavor - about 5ish minutes on a foil-lined sheet pan in the oven at 300 degrees). In a smaller, microwave-safe bowl, add the nut butter, sweetener of choice (honey/maple syrup/brown rice syrup), and microwave in 20 second intervals, removing and stirring, until the mixture is fully combined and melted together.
Add the liquid to the oat mixture, and stir well. Make sure all the oats/nuts/etc are fully incorporated and coated with the liquid, and if it seems too dry to you, add in another tablespoon of honey. Dump everything into a paper-lined, greased 9x13 pan and spread it out, pushing down till it's in one even layer.
Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes, and cut into squares immediately after removing from the oven, then let cool completely in the pan. Enjoy with some tea!