Recipe Makeover: Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Over the weekend I got to do some hiking at the Indiana Dunes. Climbing sand dunes and the view of the beach made for not only a challenging, but an uplifting workout. It inspired me to spend more time outdoors, do more hiking this summer, and to be more active on the weekends.

For this week's recipe makeover I took the inspiration from hiking and being outdoors and tried to come up with a better version of a granola bar. Granola bars are great in that they are incredibly convenient and usually taste great. Unfortunately, most granola bars are calorically equivalent to a candy bar. Bummer, I know.

Starting with this recipe from Food Network, I tried to find ways to cut the sugar and boost the fiber content while still maintaining a delicious taste and chewy texture.


1/4 cup Krema creamy peanut butter (any peanut butter could be swapped here)
1/4 locally sourced honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4/ coconut oil
3 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
cinnamon to taste
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup slivered almonds
1/3 whole bran
2 tbsp flax seed meal
2 individual unsweetened applesauce cups or about 1 cup 

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix oats, coconut, cinnamon, chocolate chips, almonds, bran, and flax seed meal together and stir.

On the stove, heat peanut butter, vanilla, coconut oil, and honey at low heat in a sauce pan until ingredients are completed liquified. Pour over dry ingredients, and completed coat dry ingredients with liquid mixture. Pack into a greased square baking pan (mine is 8 x 8) and spread apple sauce on top. Bake 10-15 minutes and cool in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours.

Cut into bars and serve. I cut mine into 16. They really are great, I'm going to have to exercise a lot of portion control when I have these in the fridge.

Or, crumble and enjoy as granola in a breakfast parfait!

Approximate Macros per bar (assuming 16 bars)
Calories: 210
Carbohydrates: 23.4 g
Fat: 11.8 g
Protein: 3.9 g

These could also be made lower in saturated fat by using 80% or higher dark chocolate or less chocolate chips altogether (but who wants that?) I might try adding chia seeds to bump up the fiber even more and boost the omega-3s. Either way, these are delicious and really hit the spot. Since they still have sugar from honey and applesauce, I wouldn't eat too many of them. Enjoy!

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