Servings: 12 Prep Time: 30 Min
Take me back to a time when I didn't worry about what was in my food. A time where I didn't look at the ingredients or nutritional panel. Carefree, and with a metabolism! Those were the good ol' days. I can't believe I'm saying that. Did our store bought food change so much that it became inedible, or has it always been that way? Maybe I just woke up, or, grew up? I'm sure it's a bit of both.
Candy bars, pretty sure, were never meant to be healthy, lets be honest. High fructose corn syrup, or organic cane sugar, not the greatest things for you. But knowing what I know now, and with kids of my own, there's not a chance I'm feeding them this frankenfood, except in the rarest occasions. But, I don't want to deprive my kids of some stuff that I got to experience as a kid, like, candy bars! Maybe I can teach them a little thing called moderation, something that I never learned until my later years. Wishful thinking?
Don't kid yourselves people, you may have been able to fight the urge to head down the candy isle, but that's because you, like me, have substituted it with the "protein bar" isle, convincing yourselves that its a healthier option. Truth of the matter is, is that many of the bar options these days contain many of the ingredients as your favorite candy bar. I love the phrase, you can't polish a turd. Or can you?? Sorry for being crass, but in this instance, it works, because they actually do look like turds! Meaning, you can dress it up in fancy packaging and put nice certified organic seals on them, but it doesn't mean your consuming real food.
I'll be honest. I do fall prey to the bar isle. There is a comfort in knowing that they are at least using organic ingredients. But I know that I am not going to find a better bar than I can make at home, myself. Not unless I am willing to spend four to five dollars per bar. Which, in a pinch, it may be worth it. But the best part about making it at home is that it is easy! So easy, your children can help.
Fair warning though, this recipe is more candy bar than it is protein bar. My kids deserve a treat every now and again, and they go a long way, when I need them to do something :) Part candy bar, part granola bar, they may not look pretty, but this is as polished as it's going to get. Simple, tasty ingredients that I know are better for you than store bought.
What you'll need
1 ½ cups stoopid Simple or Bees Knees Granola
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/3 cup thick honey (creamed or white)
1/3 cup tahini
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup cranberries
1 cup puffed brown rice cereal
¼ tsp. flaky sea salt, plus more for garnish
1 cup hazelnut or almond butter
1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
½ tsp. fine sea salt
1 1/2 cup dark chocolate (80% or higher), have more on-hand for drizzle and just in case!
In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil over low heat. Add the honey, tahini, and vanilla; whisk thoroughly until fully combined.
In a large bowl, combine the granola, puffed cereal, cranberries, and salt. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir quickly to mix.
Line an 8×8” brownie pan with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Spoon the mixture in and using slightly damp hands, press it firmly into the pan, especially around the edges and corners.
Combine the nut butter with the ½ teaspoon fine salt and maple syrup – it should transform from runny, into a more solid paste. Spread over the top of the granola bars. Set in the freezer to firm up for at least 4 hours.
When the bars are ready to coat in chocolate, remove them from the freezer and cut the base into 12 even pieces.
Set a double boiler up on the stove, over a low simmer. Chop the chocolate into chunks. Melt in a double-boiler over medium heat. Dip each piece in melted chocolate, then place on a piece of parchment to cool and set. Drizzle remaining chocolate over the top, then sprinkle with a little more flaky salt. Once cool, enjoy!
There is a price to pay for making a candy bar yourself, you get chocolate everywhere. But my children will pay that price everyday, as will I. They may not be pretty (try not to think about the polished turd I spoke about earlier), but they sure are a great alternative to that Baby Ruth (my personal favorite). Plus, there is a beauty in the imperfection, knowing that you made a candy bar. One last suggestion, I'd make smaller portions. That's just to help me and my family from eating them all at once. Good luck!