Saturday, August 13, 2016

Chia Seed Granola Bars

We are trying recipes everyday at our house but in the summer I rarely turn on the oven.  It's just too hot to bake!  This recipe uses the stove top just a little bit so you need not worry about heating up your kitchen.  These are very hearty and I particularly love the crunch of the chia seeds.  We love chia seeds at our house and after trying several brands we very much favor the hearty Mayorga brand. Mayorga chia seeds are all black, non-GMO, and Farmer Friendly.
These little bars are great for packing in lunches or as an after-school snack.  Cut them as small or as big as you like!

Homemade Chia Seed Granola Bars
2 ½ cups old fashioned rolled oats
½  cup whole almonds, roughly chopped
1/3  cup honey
¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons chia seeds (I prefer Mayorga Brand)
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line bottom of a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper. 
Combine the oats and roughly chopped almonds to a small baking sheet then bake 7-10 minutes until lightly toasted or golden brown. (If it is summertime and you don't want to heat up your kitchen there is no need to turn on your oven.  Put the oats in a large saute' pan and cook over medium heat, shaking pan or stirring occasionally until toasted.  Do the same with the almonds.)  Transfer toasted oats & almonds to a large bowl.
While the oats and almonds are in oven, combine the butter, honey, and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until butter melts and the sugar completely dissolves, stirring occasionally. Take off the heat and stir in the salt, vanilla, and chia seeds. Pour the butter mixture over the toasted oats and almonds and add the cranberries. Mix well. Let cool completely for ½ hours then add the chocolate chips. Stir to combine. (I did not wait long enough and my chocolate chips melted…still tasted great but I would rather there be bits of chocolate throughout each bar.)
Transfer the oat mixture to prepared pan. Using a rubber spatula firmly press the mixture into the pan until the mixture is in a uniform layer. Transfer the entire pan to the refrigerator and chill for 2 hours.

After the granola has cooled completely, gently lift it out of the pan using the parchment paper as handles and cut it into squares or bars.  I keep these stored in the refrigerator and add to lunches or have ready for after-school snacks.  Yum!