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vegan chewy chocolate and coconut granola bars

I mentioned our obsession with using food up that we have in a recent post.  This isn’t just to save moola (though all savings are helpful as I head into unpaid maternity leave time).  Ethically, it makes me ill to throw food away when there are so many going hungry.  Also, why should I contribute to greenhouse gasses by allowing my extra garbage to break down in a landfill? Click here to read more about this.  It has been even more challenging with a new baby.  I’m lucky if I have time to actually eat let alone cook anything.

I had a bag of sweetened coconut left over from a coconut cake as well as half a bag of chocolate chips.  A lactation consultant told me to eat oatmeal to boost milk production, so I had the hubby grab a whole big container of oats recently.  I had this crazy idea that I’d try to make a sweet, soft, chewy granola bar.  I’d love to say it is uber healthy and full of dried fruit and nuts (and it can be), but mine wasn’t.  This one is pretty dessert-y because I was craving sweet!  But, hey, they are still better for you than the preservative-laden granola bars you buy in the store.  There is a problem with these, though…moderation.  I consumed nearly the entire batch in about 48 hours.  My weakest moments were in the middle of the night while being up with the baby.

They are so easy and I’m dying to know if you can restrain yourself and actually share these or make them last for longer than a few days.  Seriously, they are THAT good.

vegan chewy chocolate and coconut granola bars
(but you can alter them to whatever ingredients you have/want really)
*I adapted this recipe from many recipes I found out there
1 1/4 cup quick oats
1 1/2 cup of rice krispies
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of almond flour
1 cup of vegan chocolate chips (more if you are craving chocolate!)
1 bag of coconut flakes (less or more depending on how much you need to use up)
1/2 cup of peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract (if you have it)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine (melted)
shortening to grease the pan
again, you could add whatever you have…dried blueberries or cranberries, candied orange would be amazing, banana chips=yum, nuts you have on hand, etc.

Preheat the oven to 375. Grease an 8 x 8 pan.  I highly recommend laying parchment paper on the bottom because it will make it much easier to get the granola bars out of the pan.

Mix your dry ingredients together.  Mix your wet ingredients separately to ensure the delicious flavors are dispersed throughout.  Then add to your dry ingredients.  I ended up using more peanut butter than I wrote merely because I wanted to use the jar up.

By the way, if Earth Balance isn’t a staple in your home already, I highly recommend it.  It completely eliminated any need we had for butter. The stuff is amazing and vegan. Pretty much ALL of their products are fab.

Press the granola into the greased pan.  Use a piece of parchment paper to push it down if it is sticking to your fingers.  Pop it into the oven.  Bake for 40 minutes.  All ovens are different, so start looking at it around 35 minutes to make sure you aren’t burning the edges.  You definitely want the top to be browning before you take it out.

Voila.

Look at the chocolately deliciousness.
Because they can be crumbly, I would leave them alone until they are completely cool.  Cut them up and wrap them in plastic wrap.
Just because I can’t resist (and we are talking about crunchy granola after all), here is a picture of Andy at mom and baby yoga class.  He is already a little yogi at 4 weeks (eek – he just turned 5 weeks today).

What ingredients would you add to these bars?

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