Chewy Baked Granola Bars

January 23, 2014

A friend of mine gave me her granola bar recipe years ago, but I could never get mine to turn out like hers. I partly didn't mind that since hers called for peanuts and sweetened condensed milk which doesn't sit well with me because of the sugar content and because of the dairy.

Chewy_granola_bars

So I have modified the recipe over the years to produce these soft, chewy, fairly protein rich delicious bars. I have a recipe for homemade sweetened condensed milk that my mom gave me for helping with Christmas baking - she used it because it was less expensive than the store-bought, I use it because I can modify the ingredients to use less sugar and soy milk powder instead of skim milk powder. I use this in any recipe that calls for 1 can sweetened condensed milk and it turns out everytime. And no one notices the difference.

I also modified my friend's original recipe to using pumpkin seeds rather than peanuts so I can send this to school with my daughter. Enjoy!

Chewy Granola Bars

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup Enjoy Life semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
1 recipe homemade non-dairy sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup unsweetened applesauce

Homemade Non-Dairy Sweetened Condensed Milk (don't be afraid, this is not as sickly as it sounds)
1 cup soy milk powder
1/3 cup maple syrup
3 Tbsp coconut oil or butter
pinch of sea salt
1 cup boiling water

1. Preheat oven to 325F/160C. Line a 13×9 inch pan with aluminum foil and grease it well with coconut oil – this step is really important – I have tried to skip it in the past - don't
2. In a large bowl mix together oats, cranberries, seeds, and chocolate chips.
3. To make the sweetened condensed milk: In a large 4 cup glass measuring cup, combine soy milk powder, maple syrup, coconut oil/butter and sea salt. Stir in boiling water until smooth. This will be thick and caramel-coloured.
4. Stir applesauce and coconut oil into the sweetened condensed milk until well blended. Pour over oat mixture in bowl and stir until well combined.
5. Spread evenly into prepared pan, using a spatula to smoothen it.
6. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until top is lightly browned.
7. Remove from oven and place the pan on a rack to cool slightly. Carefully lift the foil and place it on the wire rack. When it is cool completely cut it into bars. You can either go for the usual rectangular shaped bars or squares. Store in air tight container. These bars freeze well.
 

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