Monday's Food: Chocolate Coco-Cranberry Granola Bars

The bars make a great afternoon snack for the kiddos!

Oats & dried cranberries

The boys are happy there's still chocolate chips in their bars!

Coconut and some cinnamon & nutmeg give more flavor!

Nick and Ben love granola bars, but have you checked out the ingredients list lately for the popular ones found in the grocery store?

Not such a healthy treat! Here is the listing for Quaker's Chocolate Chip Granola Bars:

Ingredients: granola (whole grain rolled oats, rolled whole wheat, brown sugar, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil [soybean and/or cottonseed oil] dried coconut, whole wheat flour, honey), semisweet chocolate chips (sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin [an emulsifier], vanilla flavor), corn syrup, crisp rice (rice, sugar, salt, barley malt), high fructose corn syrup, sugar, corn syrup solids, glycerin, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (soybean and/or cottonseed oil), sorbitol, salt, molasses, water, natural and artificial flavors, BHT (a preservative), citric acid. Contains wheat and soy ingredients. May contain traces of peanuts.

How many variations of high fructose corn syrup do they need? Do you see the BHT on the label? BHT is short for BUTYLATED HYDROXY TOLUENE, a carcinogen shown to affect the kidneys and liver.

I know I don't want my boys eating that stuff!

Here is my recipe for a wholesome snack for your kids--and you!


3/4 cup of chopped dry cranberries
1 cup of water

In a small saucepan, boil the cranberries and the water together for about 5 to 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 water.

3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1 T. pure vanilla extract
1/2 c. agave nectar
1/3 c. almond butter
1/2 c. chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli 70% cacao)

To make:

Mix the agave nectar, almond butter, and water together. Stir over low heat until combined. Pour this over your oats, seeds, coconut, vanilla and spices. Stire in chocolate chips until combined.

Press into a 13 by 9 glass pan.

Bake at 250 for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Cut into squares and cool.


City Girl said...

These look fantastic!

Juliann D said...

I too was horrified by even the "natural" version of Quaker. If you have a week where you don't want to make your own, Kashi granola bars, while a little pricey, are great. My kids and I both love all the flavors and they are all natural and not too bad for you.

Karley said...

Hi Juliann,

My kiddos like the "Peanut Peanut Butter" variety of the TLC range of Kashi bars. They're pretty yummy!

Christine said...

I will so make these! A question on the agave. I have never used it. How would you say it compares with honey and how would you substitute 1 for 1?

Love the new idea of having a different topic each day!

Angie said...

Thanks for the recipe. I really like granola bars, but I've never been able to find one in the store, not even the health food stores, that I'm not allergic to. I'm so excited to see that your recipe doesn't have any of the foods in it that I'm allergic to.

Lady P said...

I love tasty recipes! - especially for good, healthy snacks - thanks for including it and reminding all of us to read our labels

Karley said...

CGL, Thanks!

When you substitute agave for honey, it's an even substitution (1 cup for 1 cup). By the way, I HAVE made these with buckwheat honey and clover honey with great results. I just managed to get down to about 2 spoons of honey in my bottle :)
Time to go to Aman's!

Angie said...

Thanks for the granola bar recipe. I love granola bars, but I'm allergic to all of the ones sold in stores, so I'm always searching for a good recipe.

mamagiglio said...

I'm about to make these bars. They caught my eye earlier in the week but I haven't had a chance to try out your recipe until now. I'm going to substitute dried cherries for the cranberries! I'll let you know how much we like them!

Have a great afternoon,

Karley said...


I once made these with buckwheat honey and dried cherries--the honey instead of agave and the cherries instead of cranberries--they were delicious!