In the end I worked two short days and stayed home with my barfy little man for two days. As I told the hubs, it was a very long week, but not at all in the ways that I had expected it to be. I spent hours cuddling, snuggling, rocking and soothing my little man this week; aside from a ridiculous amount of laundry the only other thing I accomplished this week was a batch of homemade chocolate cranberry granola bars.
These bars are easy to make (I made them with a crying baby on my hip) and I love that they use nutritious pumpkin as a secret ingredient to create moist, chewy and delicious granola bars. This recipe comes from The Looneyspoons Collection by Janet and Greta Podleski (which I love and will be reviewing this month), though I have made a few minor adaptations to make it meet the dietary restrictions and tastes of my household.
You can change up the add-ins as you please, but Janet and Greta recommend that you keep the quantities the same and chop your ingredients small to keep your bars from becoming crumbly. I have used both gluten-free oat flour (ground up gluten-free oats) and my all-purpose flour mix and didn't find much difference in the end product; use whatever you have on hand, I'm sure it will work well. For those of you who can tolerate gluten, the original recipe keeps these bars extra nutritious with whole-wheat flour.
- 2-1/2 cups gluten-free quick cooking oats
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips, chopped (or mini)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
- 1/3 cup gluten-free oat flour or all-purpose mix
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
- 1/4 cup hemp hearts
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1-1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (or canola)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9x13 pan with a large piece of parchment paper. Allow the parchment to overhang on two sides to you can use it like a sling to pick up the cooked granola bars.
- Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Whisk together the wet ingredients and then mix into the dry ingredients. Stir well.
- Pour mixture into the prepared pan and use your hands to ensure it is tightly packed into the pan.
- Bake for 25 minutes until the top is light golden brown and dry to the touch.
- Cool completely, in the pan, on a wire rack.
- Use the parchment paper to carefully remove the slab of granola. Use a sharp knife and firm pressure (not a sawing motion) cut the granola slab into 16 equal bars approximately 1.5 x 4 inches.
- Wrap bars individually in saran wrap. Bars can be stored on the counter or in the fridge.