This weekend I took some time to out to bake quit a few things, but two things that I really wanted to share with you guys were these granola bars and chocolate fruit and nut clusters. Both of these recipes I found online, I will not be claiming them as my own although I did make adjustments to them to satisfy my own personal preferences. I will have the links to the recipes below and tell you how I changed them up.
I LOVE granola bars. But I ended up giving them up when I began my weight loss journey. I started making a healthier version of granola that uses more puffed rice cereal than oatmeal that taste amazing especially with plain yogurt. When I saw this recipe that uses equal parts rolled oats and puffed rice cereal, I thought it might be a good option and a good way to give me a hit of something sweet and also something that is quick to grab when I’m running out the house and don’t have time to fix a decent breakfast.
The key to this recipe is the “sauce” that you pour over the dry ingredients. You have to cook it for a few minutes, and when you pour it over; you should work quickly to make sure that everything gets incorporated properly so that you can press it into the pan and everything stick together. I switched things up by using pistachios, sunflower seeds, and pecans as my nuts. I found I didn’t have any apricots (I just knew I did – I put them on the list to purchase), so I used so dried chili mango. I had a 50/50 mixture or cranberries and cherries instead of just cranberries.
Once they had a chance to set, I cut them by cutting the length in half, halving those sections, and finally halving those sections. I then went down the middle. I should have ended up with 16 bars, but remember I told you that you need to make sure that everything gets incorporated? Well there was a section of the pan that did not get thoroughly mixed. As a result, when I went to cut; it crumbled apart and no amount of pressing would get them to stick – so I had 14 bars.
The recipe author mentioned that the bars were easy to wrap up; so I decided to whip out my Food Saver and vacuum seal them.
Excuse the collar next to things, I was changing the battery for the Invisible Fence collar and didn’t realize where I had put it (I looked around for that thing for near an hour before I found out. I guess I should have reviewed my pictures and found it sooner ).
This was the first time I attempted to do this and was a little unsure if I should do a super tight seal or leave a little air in them. Time will tell.
At the same time that I was making the granola bars, I put some chocolate clusters together using the crock pot. I saw a picture of this a couple of months ago but wasn’t able to find a recipe – I think I was on Instagram. I came across this recipe and near swooned with excitement. I wanted to make it for two reasons: 1) on the days that I am trying to be low-carb/no-carb and I want something sweet – chocolate nuts is a great option; and 2) I wanted to try them out as a possible Christmas candy that I make for my Girlfriends Dinner. What’s so great about his recipe is that you dump everything in the crock pot and cook on low for 2 hours. You come back, stir everything together, set on parchment/wax paper, allow to set, and you have clusters. YUM!
I modified this recipe by using a trail mix that had an assortment of nuts and cherries along with roasted peanuts and I used mostly 62% cocoa chocolate chips and a little semi-sweet chocolate. I didn’t use my large crock pot, because I had made some carnitas the day before in it. It was clean, I just didn’t want to use it again so soon; plus I cut the recipe in half so didn’t feel like the amount was worth messing up the large one.
I took half of the clusters to work to share with my coworkers. The results were favorable from them and I really liked them, so I’ll make the full recipe as one of my give-a-way treats.
I highly recommend you give both of these a try. If you make modifications, feel free to drop me a line and tell me how they turn out and what modifications you made.
Until next time,