I hung out with my lovely friend Ari from Ari's Menu this week, and made some delicious gluten free cookies and homemade granola bars. We made cookies that will be posted on Ari's blog, and granola bars that tasted so good that they just didn't get photographed in time ;-). The granola bars were made with dark chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and macadamia nuts. I am going to give you guys a twist on the base recipe that I thought sounded really yummy! I am a huge fan of the sweet and salty taste of the Stetson Chopped salad (just go with it, ok?) The salty flavor comes from a combination of the pepitas and the smoked salmon. The sweet taste is from the dried currants. I didn't think smoked salmon sounded good in a granola bar, so we'll just stick with the pepitas :-).
Pepitas are shelled pumpkin seeds. Did you guys even know that pumpkin seeds had a shell?? I thought they were just seeds since you can eat the whole thing. Well, apparently, you can remove the shell and they become a pepita. They are commonly used on salads and for snacking. They are also high in protein, phosphorus and iron.
So I decided to include pepitas and dried currants, as well as almonds in this recipe. (The second go-around, I used dried cranberries instead-Sprouts was out of currants….)
I also used a little bit more nut butter this time to help the bars hold their shape better. I used salted and roasted seeds and nuts, but if you are watching your salt you can use raw and/or unsalted.
Are you ready to get messy?? Take off your rings, roll up your sleeves, and spray some Pam on your hands, because these amazing granola bars are definitely worth the mess!
1.5 cups gluten free oats (any oats will do if gluten isn't an issue for you)
1 cup dates
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup roasted salted pepitas
1/3 cup roasted salted almonds (I used whole)
1 tea cinnamon
1/4 tea cardamom
1/3 cup nut butter (almond, peanut, sunflower-your choice)
1/4 cup honey
Line a 9 inch cake pan with aluminum foil and grease with cooking spray.
Warm the nut butter and honey in a pan on low heat or in a bowl in the microwave until you can stir them together evenly.
Put dates in food processor and process until dates are completely obliterated. They will form a ball.
The dates didn't form a ball like they did in Ari's food processor. That's ok, it must depend on the model you have.
Place oats, cranberries, pepitas, almonds and spices in a large mixing bowl, and use hands to evenly combine.
Add nut butter mixture and dates, and go to town mixing it all together! Don't be shy, just work the mixture together with both hands until it is uniform throughout.
Place all of the mixture into cake pan and press it down until it's flat. You can let it sit at room temperature to set, or put it in the refrigerator for a few minutes. Then, cut into long bars and serve!
You can change up the recipe anyway you want. You can include chocolate chips if you want, but let the mixture cool down a little bit first. Whatever floats your boat! The base recipe is the oats, dates, nut butter and honey. Have fun with this recipe! If you make your own, leave a comment and let me know how they turned out and what you used! Good luck and enjoy!!