Lately, I have been making a lot of granola bars. The kids and I love eating them for breakfast. Abba takes a few into work for a quick morning munch at the hospital. Obviously, anything is more popular if it includes dark chocolate and sweet treats, like soft, plump dried cherries and apricots.
The crunch and surprisingly mellow, hearty flavor of the quinoa and oats is addictive. The bars are naturally sweetened with floral, local honey. Creamy almond butter and crisp pumpkin and sunflower seeds provide fantastic savour, healthy fats and diversity of texture. The food blogger at Anna’s Cuisine has a son with severe nut allergies. She substitutes tahini for nut butter in recipes with scrumptious results.
I prefer quinoa bars served with a vanilla almond milk latte, spiced with cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. The hot beverage echoes the warm spices in the bars. My New Mexican piñon coffee is one thing I can never, will never, give up. Abba works eighty-hour weeks and travels. You would think he could use a bit of caffeine. Still, he will not touch a drop of coffee; he can’t stand the stuff. It’s a miracle we have been together for thirteen years, despite “The. Great. Big. Coffee. Divide.”
The oozing, melted chocolate quickly firms up and sets nicely. It isn’t messy at all…
Well, unless you have a two-year-old “Littlest Guy” who makes sure the cocoa-streamed bowl is licked clean.You can absolutely individually wrap these bars in plastic wrap and store them in a gallon-sized plastic, zippered bag in the freezer. Just take the desired number of bars out the night before for a quick, easy breakfast on the go. Our family has completely stopped buying store-bought granola bars. Homemade ones taste better, are better for you, cost significantly less and are just plain fun to play around with. Maybe I’ll throw some plump, sweet Turkish figs or meaty, wholesome walnuts into the next, delectable batch.
The recipe comes together in a flash. Honestly, the best part of the preparation is melting the silky, dark chocolate and spreading it on top of the bars. It’s lush, rich and velvety. An added bonus: I have only met one child in my entire life who doesn’t love chocolate. Our family has strongly expressed chocolate genes.
Snu Magoo and Littlest Guy are my favorite, chocolate-covered taste testers. These unique, colorful “Seedy” Apricot, Cherry and Pistachio Quinoa Bars” are irresistible to adults and 100% kid-approved.
Give this treat a try over the weekend, and you’ll have a fabulous breakfast for the whole week (or in this house, a few days). Check back in soon, and let us know what you think of the recipe.
Shanna & The Curls and Carrots Clan
“Seedy” Apricot, Cherry and Pistachio Quinoa Bars (GF)
Loosely adapted from a recipe at Cooking Light
1 cup uncooked, old-fashioned oats (gluten-free, if desired)
3/4 cup uncooked, organic red quinoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 teaspoon each: ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom
1/2 cup dried, flaked coconut
3/4 cup dried cherries, chopped
2/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup shelled and roasted pistachios, chopped
1/4 cup each: roasted pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds
1/2 cup creamy almond butter, homemade or store bought
1 Tablespoon water, if your almond butter seems dry
1 Tablespoon salted butter or Earth Balance, melted
6 Tablespoons local honey
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 ounces organic, 73% bittersweet chocolate
1 Tablespoon strong coffee
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350•F. Line a 9×9-inch glass pan with parchment paper. Spray the parchment generously with cooking spray.
- Toast the oats and quinoa in the oven for about eight minutes, just until light brown. Take care not to burn the quinoa. Place in a large bowl.
- Stir in the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, dried cherries and apricots, pistachios, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
- In a small saucepan, over medium heat, combine the honey, almond butter, water (if the almond butter is on the dry side) and dairy butter or Earth Balance. Bring to boil and allow to bubble for one minute. Pour over oat mixture and stir well.
- Stir in the beaten eggs.
- Using a metal spoon sprayed with cooking spray, evenly press the mixture into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 23-25 minutes or until light gold on top and firm to the touch.
- Melt the chocolate and coffee in the microwave, stirring after thirty-second intervals. Alternatively, melt on the stove over a double boiler. Stir in the vanilla extract.
- As soon as the bars come out of the oven, use an offset spatula or rubber spatula to spread the chocolate mixture on top.
- Allow bars and chocolate to cool completely. Then, cut into rectangles.
- Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
- Or, wrap individual bars in plastic wrap and freeze for up to six months. Thaw on the counter the night before for a quick morning munch.
©Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, shannaward.com (2013-2014), unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, and/or owner is strictly and completely prohibited.