Friday, January 18, 2013

Dark Chocolate & Walnut Granola Bars

What a busy January it's been so far!  This month is just going along much faster than it usually does, but you won't hear any complaints from moi!
With bitter cold wind, frosty temperatures and more cloudy days, I've been playing "catch up" on things I've put off for a while!  (I'll be sharing more on those things later with you friends;)
I just returned from visiting family and friends back in my hometown.  Mr. Cozy is very busy at work so I took the opportunity to see some people I haven't seen in a long time and missed!  
 I want to share with you the recipe to these yummy dark chocolate and walnut granola bars I made on a cold, cloudy day last week!  These are way more delicious that the store bought version of granola bars, and you can control what's in them!  The bittersweet chocolate dots the bars and somewhat melts giving them a decadent taste with some extra anti-oxidants!  I wanted to use walnuts because they have good fats in them (although pecans are my favorite), and I added some ground flax seed to amp up the nutritional value a little more.  The honey makes them chewy and and the walnuts add that satisfying crunch!  I'm trying to be more aware of how much sugar I eat on a daily basis, and although these are better than store bought ones are for you, they still have some sugar!  Cut them in half if you like, but either way wrapped up they last for about 1 week!
Perfect for a quick breakfast treat on the go, delicious snack or even dessert these home dark chocolate & walnut bars are a delight to eat.  You'll feel good about knowing they are homemade and even better because they are easy to make!  I hope you can try these out sometime, and if you've never made any granola bars before, don't miss out... ;) 
...Here's your chance!
 Dark Chocolate & Walnut Granola Bars
Recipe is slightly adapted from The Barefoot Contessa & found at Shopgirl
2 c. of Rolled Oats, toasted 
3 Tbsp. Butter, melted
1/3 c. Honey, I prefer raw
1/4 c. Brown Sugar
1 1/2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 heaping Tbsp. Ground Flax Seed
1 c. Walnuts, chopped & toasted
1/2 c. Bittersweet (60%) Chocolate Chips, I used Ghiradelli
Note: I decided to toast the oats and nuts to give them a fuller flavor.  To do this you just spread out the oats and nuts in the same baking sheet and put in the oven to bake at 350 degrees F. for about 8 minutes or until fragrant and oats are lightly tanned.  When making this batch, I didn't allow for cooling time before adding to the rest of the mixture and that is what melted my chocolate chips.  If you want whole chocolate chips, be sure to let this cool first!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper. I let this almost hang over the edge and trimmed down to size a bit.
In a medium sized bowl, mix together butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.
 Stir in the ground flax. 
Pour in the beautifully toasted oats and nuts.
 Add the chocolate chips.  (Like I said, most of my chocolate melted for the warm oats, but it's still very good!)  If you feel like it's not sticking together, add a bit more honey.
Pour mixture into prepared pan.  Wet your hands and gently press down.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, or 'til edges are slightly brown. 
Important: Let granola bars cool for 2 hours before cutting! This way they won't fall apart. We want pretty little granola bars to be proud of!
Before cutting them, use the long ends of the parchment paper and lift the whole granola bar out of the pan.  Sit on the counter with the paper still underneath and then cut the bars.  I used a plastic knife.  Also, after cuttng them I wrapped them tightly and individually in plastic wrap so they would keep well and be easy to grab on the run.
 Once they are cut into 8 pieces (or 16 if you want small squares), enjoy a chewy delicious bar with some coffee or milk and ponder your granola bar success! 


elizabeth said...

I will definitely be trying these! I think they'll be a perfect snack for the grand kids!

Jessica@AKitchenAddiction said...

I love making granola bars and these sound wonderful!

Sunny Simple Life said...

Oh these sound good. We go through a lot of granola bars around here and I keep meaning to start making my own.

Lora said...

oh my goodness! those look amazing!!!

Maria said...

They turned out wonderful!!! And the dark chocolate and walnut combination sounds SO good! I'll have to try that out next time! :o)

Eileen said...

Sounds yummy. This would be a great snack or breakfast in my house. :)

Heather @cultivatedbygrace said...

These look delicious! We are major granola bar eaters in our family. Will have to try this combo:)