Granola bars are one of my major pet peeves. I’d wager that over 80% of the “healthy” granola bars are not, in fact, any kind of healthy, and to boot the ones that come closer to that label are always pricey. I’ve lived with low blood sugar for quite some time, so I’m always looking for a bar with a higher protein content and a lower sugar content. Additionally, I’m also looking for something with low grains, low-no preservatives. What I usually end up settling for (out of desperation, mind you) contains some mixture of rice syrup and flour, sunflower oil, and soy lecithin. Gross. I pay way too much for those ingredients to still be in the bar!
KIND bars are probably the closest to this type bar (see below). KIND makes several varieties of bars that are more nut than grain based. Still, the ingredient list below for their Oats and Honey Gluten Free Granola Bars (according to Target.com) is built on (non-Paleo) suspect ingredients (see bolded text).
- Whole Grains (Gluten Free Oats, Brown Rice, Millet, Gluten Free Oat Flour, Buckwheat, Amaranth, Quinoa), Tapioca Syrup, Evaporated Cane Juice, Honey, Coconut, Non GMO Canola Oil, Brown Rice Syrup, Gum Acacia, Sea Salt, Natural Vitamin E.
While I am not strictly Paleo, I would personally consider the worst of those ingredients to be brown rice syrup, tapioca syrup, and canola oil. Bear in mind there are FOUR types of sweeteners in these bars, between the brown rice syrup, tapioca syrup, evaporated cane juice, and honey. I personally don’t count any of the above grains as terrible in moderation (and they are fine for gluten-free folks), but they don’t provide much nutritional benefit and I keep my intake low.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, onto the fun part.
I’m terribly late to the making-your-own-nut-bars game, but I am so so glad that I finally did. Everyone was always raving to me how simple they are to make, how much cheaper they are, how you can make your own combinations, blah blah blah. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s all TRUE! I can’t wait to experiment with (and share!) different flavors, but until then, here is a recipe to try. These are dense, protein-filled bars and the combination of simple ingredients with no fillers is just perfect. Orange + coconut + vanilla + honey + ginger + nuts? Yes please!!
HONEY ORANGE VANILLA NUT BARS
1 C. Cashews (unsalted)
1/2 C. Pecans (unsalted)
1/2 C. Almonds (raw + unsalted)
1/2 C. Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
Zest of half a Navel Orange
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
1/4 tsp. Ground Ginger
1/2 C. + 1 Tbsp. Honey (Raw/local is best)
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
3. Roughly chop the nuts by hand, with a nut chopper, or in a food processor or blender. Don’t overchop.
4. Pour nuts into a bowl and combine all other ingredients besides honey. Stir until combined.
5. Pour honey into bowl with other ingredients and mix with fork or wooden spoon until evenly combined.
6. Spread mixture onto cookie sheet, packing it in until edges are reached and sheet is evenly coated. You can use oiled hands to do this. (Note: nut mixture should not be too thin or bars will fall apart. If it doesn’t reach the entire cookie sheet, use knife to shape edge. Bars will not expand in width when baked).
7. Bake in preheated oven for 20 min. or until just golden-brown.
8. Remove from oven and transfer to wire rick by picking up edges of parchment paper. Bars can be reshaped if needed.
9. After bars have cooled (about 30 minutes) flip upside down onto a piece of parchment paper on counter.
10. Peel off parchment paper (Note: if paper is sticking, it means bars have not cooled enough).
11. Allow bars to cool completely before cutting into desired shape. Wrap individually for an easy, non-sticky snack.
Approx. Cost of one batch: $6.50 (should make about 16 2×2 bars but it depends on how you cut them)
Recipe modified from Our Paleo Life. Thank you Kendra!!