Chocolate-Dipped Granola Bars
Fresh, homemade granola bars are not only a great mid-day energy boost, they are a good source of fiber, protein, minerals and anti-oxidants. And, they are kid (kids of all ages) approved without the preservatives, added sugar and other nasties that are often found in store bought granola bars. Wrap these simple-to-make bars individually so they are on-the-go ready. If they need to be tree nut free, simply substitute the nuts for pepitos (pumpkin seeds), also a great source of iron!
2 ½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 ½ cups whole raw cashews, divided (substitute of almonds, pepitos or soy nuts if desired)
3 tablespoons canola or safflower oil
2 tablespoons flax seeds
½ cup honey (try Bees Knees Spicy Honey by Bushwick Kitchen for a kick!)
¼ cup packed brown sugar or fresh maple syrup
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup organic dried currants (chopped dried cherries work too)
2 tablespoons chia seeds
4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (minimum 60% cacao)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 8x8-inch pan with nonstick spray such as coconut oil.
Toast oats and cashews on separate baking sheets until golden brown, about 20 minutes- note, oats and cashews may not have the exact same cooking time.
Grind flax seeds in mini food processor until fine.
Puree 1 cup cashews with oil in a mini food processor until smooth.
Heat honey, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon in a medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves, about 3-4 minutes.
Remove saucepan from heat and stir in flax and cashew mixture.
Toss together oats, remaining ½ cup cashews, currants and chia seeds; stir in honey in honey mixture until combined.
Press oat mixture into prepared pan using the back of a spatula coated with non-stick spray.
Bake bars for 10 minutes; let cool and then cut into 8-10 bars.
Melt chocolate in microwave or double-boiler until smooth, stirring approximately every 20 seconds.
Dip bottoms of bars in chocolate, allowing excess to drip off.
Place on parchment paper and allow to set up.
Wrap individually to take with you, an enjoy!