Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Homemade granola bars. You can never have too many recipes. I'm always trying out new variations, and new renditions. They're all yummy and wonderful to have on hand for (healthy-ish) snacks. This version is a winner because Chocolate!! When I add some nice dried fruit, or delicious nuts or seeds to a granola bar, they're always delicious, but I always want chocolate. Always.  :) 

This bar is a version of my cranberry walnut granola bars, but I replaced the almond butter with peanut butter, and then obviously used chocolate chips instead of the cranberries and walnuts. Both good options, but when that chocolate craving hits there's only one option!

 
 
 
 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Adapted from Delectably Mine
Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) butter
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup (112 grams) honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups (160 grams) old fashion oats
  • 1/3 cup (38 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 12x9 inch or 8x8 inch pan, or line with a parchment paper sling, and set aside. 

Place the butter, and peanut butter in a large microwave safe bowl and microwave until the butter melts. Stir until the well combined. Mix in the honey, vanilla and salt and give a good stir. Add the egg and stir the whole mixture until smooth and combined. 

Add the oats, whole wheat flour, and chocolate and stir everything together until well combined and there are no more dry pockets of flour. 

Transfer the mixture into the prepared  pan and pat down firmly into an even layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Yields: 14-16 granola bars
 

Rosemary Olive Oil Crackers

I really needed to use some sourdough this weekend, but I've been enjoying some absolutely delicious naturally fermented local bread (Field and Fire Bakery anyone? If you're in GR you must check it out) and didn't have any need to make bread. Crackers it was! I have a beautiful rosemary bush outside that is doing great and decided a little rosemary, a little garlic, and a little olive oil baked into a simple cracker was a quick, easy and delicious was to use up a little starter to get me through until I'm ready to bake bread again.  

I halved the recipe for these crackers and it was perfect. Just the right amount of dough for one baking sheet. I actually used my pasta roller to roll out the dough to an even thickness. I went to setting 3 on my Atlas pasta roller and thought it was the perfect thickness. But a rolling pin and a little arm strength work just as well. Just keep an eye on the crackers while they are baking to ensure you don't burn some of the thinner crackers. 

 
 

Rosemary Olive Oil Crackers
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (125 grams) unfed sourdough starter
  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped finely
  • 1/2-1 whole garlic clove, finely minced
  • oil for brushing
  • coarse salt for sprinkling on top

Directions
Mix together the flour, salt, sourdough starter, olive oil rosemary and garlic to make a smooth(not sticky), cohesive dough. If dough is too wet add a few extra tablespoons of flour. Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a small rectangular slab. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or up to a couple of hours, until the dough is firm.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Very lightly flour a piece of parchment, your rolling pin, and the top of the dough. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough to about 1/16" thick. 

Transfer the dough and parchment together onto a baking sheet. Lightly brush with oil and then sprinkle the salt over the top of the crackers.

Cut the dough into 1 1/4" squares; a rolling pizza wheel works well here. Prick each square with the tines of a fork. Bake the crackers for about 20 minutes, until the squares are starting to brown around the edges. When fully browned, remove the crackers from the oven, and transfer them to a cooling rack. Store airtight at room temperature for up to a week; freeze for longer storage.

Chocolate Coconut Crunch

ALERT: Highly Addictive Recipe!!! Be forewarned, you may end up eating the whole batch at once! If you're looking for something new and delicious to snack on, this is the recipe for you. Puffed kamut or rice (or other puffed grains) combined with coconut, cocoa and chocolate along with a little butter (mmmm!!) and maple syrup for sweetness and then baked turn out this addictive and delicious snack that you may not be able to stop eating! Don't say I didn't warn you!

This recipe has just the right amount of coconut to add richness and a hint of coconut flavoring without overwhelming the whole batch. Next time I make this I plan sprinkle some flake salt over the whole thing right before it goes in the oven for that wonderful salty/sweet combo. I used butter instead of coconut oil which is what the original recipe called for, and cut back just a little on the amount. I also decreased the maple syrup from 1/2 to 1/3 cup maple syrup and thought it was still plenty sweet. With the chocolate in there too I don't feel the need for as much maple syrup, but to eat their own! 1/4 cup? 1/2 cup? It really doesn't matter. What matters is how do you like it? I guess you'll have to try it and find out!

 
 
 
 

Chocolate Coconut Crunch
Adapted from Alexandra Cooks
Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup (120 grams) oats
  • 2 cups (30 grams) puffed kamut, alternatively you can use brown rice cereal or Rice Krispies
  • 1/2 cup (35 grams) shredded coconut
  • 3 tablespoons (15 grams) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons (42 grams) butter or coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 ounces chocolate
  • 1/3 cup (110 grams) maple syrup

Direction
Preheat oven to 275ºF. In a large bowl, combine oats, puffed kamut or rice cereal, coconut, cocoa powder, and salt. Toss to combine.

Place the butter or coconut oil and dark chocolate together in a small bowl and microwave until completely melted. Stir to blend; then add to dry ingredients along with the maple syrup. Stir until well combined.

Turn mixture out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread into an even layer. Cook 35-40 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. To maintain large chunks, do not stir the mixture. Remove from oven and let cool. Break into shards or into small pieces.

Coconut Cocoa Nib Bites

If you're looking for a quick and healthy snack, look no further. There are so many recipes out there for snack bites or energy balls or whatever you want to call them. These coconut cocoa nib bites are just one iteration, and a tasty one at that! I love the sweetness from the dates mixed with the bitter funk of the cocoa nibs and the chew from the coconut. Everything goes into the food processor and processed until it all comes together. Then just shape into balls and store in the fridge or freezer. Pop one out when you need a little snack. Sweet and hearty and something you can feel good about eating!

As with most recipes like this, these bites are endlessly versatile. You can use your favorite mix ins and flavorings. No almonds? Try peanuts. No dates? I think prunes would work quite well! No cocoa nibs, try some finely chopped chocolate.  Whatever sounds good to you can probably end up working out wonderfully!

 
 

Coconut Cocoa Nib Bites
Adapted from OH, Babycakes
Ingredients

  • 3 ounces coconut
  • 1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) raw almonds
  • Pinch salt
  • 8 medjool dates or 15-18 deglet noor dates (approximately 4 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2-4 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) cocoa nibs
  • 3/4 ounce sunflower seeds

Directions
In a food processor fitted with the S blade, blend the coconut, almonds, and salt into a fine meal. Add the dates and pulse for 30-45 seconds. Add the water; pulse until combined. 

Transfer the mixture to a small mixing bowl, stir in the sunflower seeds and cacao nibs. Form the mixture into small, bite sized balls. Freeze for 30 minutes on a cookie sheet, then transfer to an air tight container or bag and store in the freezer.

Cranberry Walnut Granola Bars

As I believe I've said before, I'm always on the lookout for healthy, easy and delicious snacks that I can carry with me on busy days. Something that can keep hunger at bay when I have to postpone lunch for a little bit, but still need something to fill my stomach in the mean time. I've found that oat bars are my favorite. I feel good about eating them, there are so many different options out there that you don't have to make the same thing twice if you don't want to. These oats bars are a mash up of a couple of different recipes that I adapted to fit my needs. They turned out wonderfully!

There oats bars hold together GREAT!! Sometimes I have a problem with getting bars to hold together. I think this is because I don't like to fill my bars with tons of sugar, but sugar is often what holds them together. I've found that while you do need some sugar, both for structure and for flavor, if you add a little bit of flour and an egg or two this can also help firm things up. These bars are not super sweet, you could always add a bit more sugar if you'd like, but they were perfect for me. They were easy to keep in a little baggie in my purse, ready for whenever I needed them!

These bars are just a little crisp with some chew as well. They aren't hard, but not super chewy either, they're just the right mix! I put cranberries and walnuts in this time, a classic combination that never disappoints. If I'd had an orange laying around I would have thrown in a bit of orange zest as well to really take things over the top. But as is, they are a great bar to have on hand for when those snack attackts sneak up on you, but you want to keep things a little more on the nutritious side! Enjoy!

 
 
 
 

Cranberry Walnut Granola Bars
Adapted from My Humble Kitchen and Delectably Mine
Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) butter
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) almond butter
  • 1/3 cup (112 grams) honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups (160 grams) old fashion oats
  • 1/3 cup (38 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup cranberries
  • 1/4 cup walnuts

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 12x9 inch or 8x8 inch pan, or line with a parchment paper sling, and set aside. 

Place the butter, and almond butter in a large microwave safe bowl and microwave until the butter melts. Stir until the well combined. Mix in the honey, vanilla and salt and give a good stir. Add the egg and stir the whole mixture until smooth and combined. 

Add the oats, whole wheat flour, cranberries and walnuts and stir everything together until well combined and there are no more dry pockets of flour. 

Transfer the mixture into the prepared  pan and pat down firmly into an even layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Yields: approximately 14 granola bars
Approximately 130 calories each

Seedy Cranberry Crisps

You know those fancy seedy crisps that you can buy at specialty grocery stores? They come in fun flavors such as rosemary raisin pecan, salty date and almond, or fig and olive. I love these crackers. They're sweet and crunchy and full of yummy fruits and nuts and seeds. Regardless of how much I enjoy these little snacks, I have never once bought a box of them, nor considered buying a box, they are always so expensive. I look at them longingly, and then dejectedly pick up a box of plain water crackers or butter crackers of something like that and leave. 

But no more! I have discovered a wonderful alternative. Homemade crisps. these little crisps are super easy to whip together. They take a bit of time because they are baked, cut and then baked again. But you can do this all in stages and each step is very easy. The resulting crisp is impressive looking, super yummy, and so so much cheaper than the store. If you need some crackers at your next party and you've got a few extra minutes, whip together a batch of these crackers and enjoy!

I've made these crackers several times and just add in whatever nuts or seeds or dried fruit I have at that moment. I usually add anywhere from 1-2 cup of add-ins. Again, really whatever you have on hand. There's also a nice amount of sugar (both brown sugar and maple syrup) in these which makes them delicious and nicely sweetened. But I have also made them without the maple syrup and they are just as good, just a little less sweet. So depending on your preference and how your going to use the crackers you can add more or less of the sugar and they will still be a great addition to your table. 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Seedy Cranberry Crisps
Adapted from Use Real Butter
Ingredients

  • 2 cups (9 ounces) whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup (1.75 ounces) brown sugar
  • 2 tsps baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) buttermilk or liquid whey (left over from making yogurt)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (optional, I think they are sweet enough without this, but add it in for a little extra something special!) 
  • About 1 cup of a mix of dried cranberries, raw pumpkin seeds and raw sunflower seeds 

Directions
Make the loaves: Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease four mini loaf pans with vegetable oil spray or butter. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt with a whisk. Add in the buttermilk or whey and maple syrup (if using) and stir until just combined. Fold the cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds into the batter. Divvy the batter among the four mini loaf pans and bake for 30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the loaves cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then remove them from the pans and let cool completely over several hours or overnight. (You want them to be completely cool before cutting or they will fall apart as you cut the crisps.)

Make the crisps: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Using a sharp bread knife, slice the loaves into 1/8-inch thin slices. This can be a little challenging, but do your best. I've found that it helps to chill the baked bread before cutting. Arrange the slices on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 50-60 minutes until dark golden and crisp, flipping the slices and rotating the baking sheet halfway through. Start checking them at around 40 minutes to make sure they don't overbake and get bitter. 

Yields: 70-80 crisps

Seedy Sourdough Crackers

I love making homemade crackers. Hang on, let me rephrase that; I love having homemade crackers on hand to eat. I have to admit I don't always love making them. But honestly, they're not that big of a pain to make, it just takes a bit of time, especially when you have a big recipe. But the end results are completely worth it and that is why I keep making different versions of homemade crackers again and again. 

This recipe is probably the best that I've made to date. I used a basic recipe for sourdough crackers that I've used in the past, but to add some interest to the crackers I added some seeds and grains, for flavor, texture and looks. Looking at what I had hanging around, I decided on poppy seeds, sunflower seeds and rolled oats. I coarsely ground the sunflower seeds and oats in a food processor for just a second or two before adding them so the pieces wouldn't be too big. The resulting crackers turned out delicious! Crisp and nutty with a slight tang from the sourdough. I highly recommend taking the time if you have it to roll out these addicting homemade crackers. 

You could use whatever seeds or nuts you have on hand to add to these crackers. Just be sure to grind up any bigger pieces so they incorporate better into the dough and make it easier to roll out. I used my pasta making to roll the crackers to an even thickness. I have found that this is by far the best way to roll out crackers, but that doesn't mean you can't roll them by hand with a rolling pin if you don't have a pasta machine. Just do your best to roll them as thin and as evenly as you can. You'll have to watch them a little more closely when baking too, to make sure they don't bake too unevenly.

 
 
 
 

Seedy Sourdough Crackers
Adapted from King Arthur Flour and Reformation Acres
Ingredients

  • 1 cup (4 ounces) whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup (9 ounces) unfed sourdough starter
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) butter, at room temperature
  • 2-4 tablespoons assorted grains and/or seeds (poppy seeds, sesame seeds, coarsely chopped sunflower seeds, coarsely ground oats, etc)

Directions
Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium low until everything is well combined into a nice, cohesive dough. Add a little extra flour if the mixture seems too wet and sticky. 

Assemble pasta maker. Roll small pieces of the dough through the machine until very thin (I went to setting 5 or 6 on my machine). Alternatively, you can use a rolling pin and roll the dough out on a well floured surface, trying as much as possible to roll the dough to an even thickness. Cut the dough out using cookie cutters, or use a pastry scraper to cut freehand. 

Place the cut shapes on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for a few minutes while you preheat the oven to 375 degrees (I find it easier to dock the dough when it has firmed up a little in the fridge, but this is not absolutely necessary). Sprinkle crackers with a little extra kosher salt if desired and use a fork or toothpick to poke a few holes in each cracker. Bake crackers for 12-15 minutes, until nicely golden brown and crisp all the way through. Watch them carefully toward the end as they can over cook quite quickly. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container. 

Simple Butter Crackers

Have you ever tried to make homemade crackers? If you haven't I encourage you to give them a shot! I have tried many different recipes for homemade crackers over the past couple of years, some are good and some are not so good. As I've experimented the results have gotten better and better. These simple butter crackers are one of my recent successes. You only need a few ingredients to quickly whip together a batch of dough that you can use right away, or put in the fridge to roll out a little later. While it does take a little time to roll out the dough and cut into shapes, I don't mind taking a little extra time in the kitchen once in a while, especially when it results in something as satisfying as these buttery and delicious homemade crackers, something you can really be proud of!

Some of the problems I've had with various cracker recipes is that they can be bland, and also they can be really difficult to roll out because they are so sticky. This recipe had neither of these problems. I've found, not surprisingly, that in order to get a cracker that is not bland I need a recipe that includes at least some fat, it's essential to the flavor of crackers since there isn't much flavor coming from anywhere else. This recipe includes a little butter, my personal favorite way to add flavor. 

Also, these crackers were a breeze to roll out. I used my pasta machine to roll them out to an even thickness (I rolled them to setting 6 on my Atlas pasta roller), but I have no doubt they would be easy enough to roll out with a rolling pin and some arm muscle if you don't have a pasta maker on hand. 

If you've been wanting to try your hand at some homemade crackers, I highly recommend giving this recipe a try, the results are well worth the investment!

Simple Butter Crackers
Adapted from The Washington Post
Ingredients

  • 1 cups flour, plus more if needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cold from the fridge
  • 1/4 cup hot tap water, or as needed

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a small bowl. Add the butter and use a pastry blender (or your fingers) to cut the butter into the flour mixture until crumbly and well distributed throughout. Add the hot water and mix to form a smooth, soft ball, stopping to check the texture before you add all of the water; you might not need all of it. 

Turn the dough out onto the work surface and knead it quickly and lightly. Return to bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

Working with one portion at a time, use a pasta maker to roll the dough out very thin, ideally, the dough should be translucent enough so that you can see the work surface underneath it. I rolled my dough out to setting 6 on my Atlas pasta maker and thought it was the perfect thickness (alternatively, use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out the dough on a lightly flour work surface). 

At this point you can either transfer sheet of dough to a baking sheet and use a pastry cutting wheel or sharp knife to quickly slice the dough into approximately 1 1/2-inch squares, cutting the whole sheet in one direction first, then the other, or you can use a round cookie cutter to cut the dough into rounds and transfer the rounds individually to a cookie sheet. Use the tines of a fork to prick each cracker several times.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the crackers turn golden and are light brown around the edges. (You might need to bake the crackers on the inside of the sheet a little longer, because they will not brown as readily.) Keep on eye on the crackers towards the end of baking as they cab brown very fast. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Cool completely before serving or storing.