Chocolate Junk Granola Squares

Dear Dairy, 

We have endured a strong yet tragic relationship for many years. Doctors tell me not to devour even a morsel of your charms, but you always find a way back in to my life. Whether you linger on a cracker, curl up snugly to some macaroni, stand tall in a breakfast glass or sprinkle yourself on salads, your charm is undeniable. I swoon your way time and time again.

But you are not good for me. When you are in my daily life I get too many colds, my skin turns pink and rashy, my bones ache, my hair gets dull, my tummy hurts, and my brain fogs over slowly until I eventually forget the names of even the simplest things. Not only does your presence affect me physically, but I am emotionally and mentally damaged by you. This is not a healthy relationship.

If you see me on a crowded street or in a seedy café, please turn the other way. I am not strong enough to say no. Not yet. You will not hear from me again until I have the power to be in your presence without succumbing to your good looks.

Until then, we part as friends and I will do my best to fill the void.

Let’s start with these delightful squares. They are soft, chewy and a cross between a granola bar and a cookie. It is fair to say these are irresistible even sans butter. 

Chocolate Junk Granola Squares (Adapted from SmittenKitchen)
 
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 30 squares
Nutrition Information per serving: 240 cals, 13 fat, 5 protein, 28 carbs

Ingredients:
2 ½ cups rolled oats (I use Trader Joes Gluten Free Oats)
2/3 cup oat flour (or 2/3 c rolled oats finely ground)
½ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups dairy free dark chocolate morsels
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup unsalted peanuts
1 tablespoon flax seeds
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup Craisins
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup natural nut butter (peanut, almond, whatever you like)
¾ cup clover honey
¼ cup plain coconut milk
2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees faranheit. Line two 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pans with parchment paper and create “handles” by cutting the paper longer than the pan. Grease the paper and the pan with non-stick spray.

Toss all of the dry ingredients with chocolate chips, nuts and dried fruit. In a large bowl, stir together vanilla, nut butter, honey, coconut milk and water until it is thoroughly incorporated. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry until combined. Spread the mixture in to the pans, pressing down firmly to create a sturdy bar.

Bake the bars for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Like cookies, the bars should appear underdone when they come out. Allow them to cool in the pans completely. Lift the bars out of the pan using the parchment paper handles. Refrigerate for 1 hour; slice in to portable squares.

Keep in an airtight container (or even in the fridge for a longer shelf life). 


26 comments:

  1. This looks so tempting!!never tried making my own granola squares,I will this one for sure.thanks for sharing!

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    1. Please visit my blog delightsofculinaria.blogspot.com

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  2. You do have some tasty add ins to these granola bars, so much that they are making me re think the ones I have on file. The chocolate, peanuts, pecans and craisins are what makes me want these over the others-your unique blend is a winner in my book. Thanks for this recipe-yum!

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    1. Thank you! I call them "junk" bars because I literally threw in every dried fruit and nut I had left from the holidays... and boy did they turn out. My husband can't stop eating them!

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  3. Oh, you poor thing! It sounds like it is so hard to avoid dairy and I can only imagine the qualms I would have with it. Sounds like you've turned around and told dairy who's boss though! These bars look absolutely delightful!

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  4. yummy these look so delicious!! I will make these this weekend fo sho!!

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  5. Mmmmm....I'm so glad you found a dairy-free treat that is so fabulous!!! I love all the goodies in these gems :) One of my girlfriends gave up dairy and started probiotics this year...and no sinus infections! She's thrilled~

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    1. I never learn when it comes to dairy. Being told I was allergic to my favorite food is like a death sentence... but I have a feeling my life will soon be better without it. Thanks for the encouragement!

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  6. These would be a big hit in my house.

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  7. These look like my dream bar! I love all the nuts and the nut butter. And - of course - the chocolate.

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    1. These would be even healthier without the chocolate and half the honey, but I couldn't resist :) Besides, once they are all portioned out each serving has as much as one of those packaged energy bars, and it's all natural. Can't beat that!

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  8. Your "granola-cookie" bars look sinfully delicious... and I dare say no one will be missing the butter!

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    1. Thank you! I certainly didn't miss the butter in this recipe. Something tells me I'll miss it on pizza night. le sigh :)

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  9. These look Amazing!! I mean wholly cow... they chock full of delicious stuff. My kind of treat for sure! You out did yourself and saved yourself from the dairy too. Well done!! ~ Ramona

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    1. Thanks, Ramona! These are super good, and the recipe makes 30 bars... enough to feed a hungry man and a busy girl for a week :)

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  10. These look wonderful and they would quickly disappear from my kitchen. This is a really nice recipe. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  11. Dark chocolate morsels, pecans, peanuts, craisins - wow! Your granola squares have all the tastes and textures I love!
    I know it's hard to live without dairy, but I'm sure you'll get used to the available substitutes!

    Btw, I have an award waiting for you... http://bit.ly/yjpNgG

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  12. Dairy allergies suck...so sorry to hear about yours. The recipe, however, is fabulous--I would so pick one of these babies up if I saw it at a party!

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  13. I'm not sure I could handle a life without dairy! Milk, no problem! But heavy cream and cheese... these would go a long way in smoothing that over!

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  14. Oh man that sucks. I would have such a hard time giving up cheese. Though let's face it: it's not really good for anyone. I have a feeling you will come up with many delicious alternatives!

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    1. The best things in life are usually bad for us. le sigh. But I'm really enjoying feeling better! So I'll take the cards I've been dealt. I dreamed about that baked hummus you made. Seriously.

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  15. Those look very delish. thanks for sharing.

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  16. My naughty version demonstrates that I can take a perfectly healthy recipe and turn it bad.... With misfits from my emergency chocolate stash: dark and milk chocolate Easter eggs, Hershey's chocolate kisses, a mesquite flavored dark chocolate bar that I didn't like by itself, some random samples from the NY chocolate show, AND a whole bag of Nestle semi sweet chips. Just because I had them, I used pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, pistachios, dried apricots and cranberries. I used buckwheat honey and added some egg whites....somehow it works, and I am giving them to my physical therapist in the morning to keep from eating too many here at home.

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  17. Oh yum! Texture is between granola bars and cookies? Just reading your description make me drool. These squares have lots of goodies. It's supposedt to be healthy snack, but I might end up with more servings than necessary when I have a piece of this! Love the side shot!

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  18. These squares are gorgeous - a little healthy, a whole chocolatey and easy to take wherever you want :D
    Yum!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru
    Latest: Marbled Muffintopcookiecake Hybrid

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