Your Life A to Z

Soft and Chewy Granola Bars, Mini Double Chocolate Banana Muffins and Mint Chocolate Chip Energy Bites


Soft and Chewy Granola Bars
Adapted from Inspired Taste
Yields:  12 bars

2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup whole almonds, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degress F. Line bottom and sides of a 8-inch or 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil. Then lightly oil or spray with cooking spray.

Add oats and almonds to a small baking sheet then bake 5 minutes, stir and bake another 3 to 5 minutes until lightly toasted. Transfer to a large bowl.

Combine butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla extract and the salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until butter melts and the sugar completely dissolves.

Pour butter mixture in to bowl with toasted oats and almonds. Mix well. Let cool about 5 minutes then add dried cherries and a 1/4 cup of the mini chocolate chips. Stir to combine.

Transfer oat mixture to lined pan then use a rubber spatula or damp finger tips to firmly press the mixture into the pan. Press hard so the bars stay together.

Scatter remaining 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips over pressed granola mixture then use a rubber spatula to gently press them into the top. Cover then refrigerate at least 2 hours. Remove block of granola mixture from pan then peel away aluminum foil. Cut into 12 bars.

Mini Double Chocolate Banana Muffins
Adapted from Foodlets
Yields:  2 dozen mini muffins

4 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup old fashioned oats 
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease mini muffin pan or use liners.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Melt butter and pour over the top of bananas.  Stir. Add sugar, egg, vanilla and maple syrup and combine well.

Set a metal sifter over the top of your mixing bowl and pour in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Sift and remove sifter. Add whole oats and chocolate chips. Stir until everything is just combined.

Fill muffin cups to the top and bake for 13 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with crumbs attached. Allow to cool before removing. 

Mint Chocolate Chip Energy Bites
Maggie Norris
Yields:  18 energy bites

1/2 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 cups tightly packed dates, pitted
1 ½ tablespoons cocoa powder
¼ cup mini chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate)
1 tablespoon flaxseed
¼ teaspoon peppermint extract

Place the oats into the bowl of a large food processor fitted with a metal blade.  Pulse the oats a few times.  Add the dates and process to form a sticky ball. Use a spatula to break up the date mixture, add in the cocoa powder, chocolate, flaxseed and peppermint extract. Process again until a sticky batter is created.

Roll the dough into 1 ½ balls.  Place the energy bites into a container putting a piece of parchment or wax paper in between each layer. The energy bites will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.


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