Nourishing Granola Bars With Kids In The Kitchen
This is such a fun and nutritious project to make with kids. It is a great sensory experience full of texture, smells, counting, tasting, colors, sorting, and more.
We buy our ingredients in bulk through Weiser Natural Foods. In this picture below you can see bulk packaging of five pounds of sunflower seeds and organic quick oats. I purchased almost all the ingredients for this recipe in bulk and my dollars really stretch to make these nourishing treats.
Buying in bulk helps our family, of seven people, save money on many wonderful groceries and household products.
Nourishing Granola Bars With Kids In The Kitchen
For this recipe, you will need:
1/2 cup raw or roasted sunflower seads
1/2 cup raw or roasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
(you can also use raw or roasted, but I find the blanched digests best for children)
1/2 cup dried cherries (or berry fruit of choice)
1/4 cup dried papaya (or other dried fruit of choice)
2 cups organic quick rolled oats
1 tsp sea salt
3/4 sucanat sugar
3/4 raw honey
2 tsp organic vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil (or butter)
Options: 1/8 cup ground flax or chia seeds, 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Measuring, tossing, and pouring the dry ingredients is a lot of fun for the children.
Help them measure out the nuts, seeds, and oats. Then mix them together.
Pour the nut, seed, oat mixture onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. I lightly oil my pan with coconut oil to prevent anything from sticking. (If you used a good non stick pan, you probably could skip that step).
Spread out the mixture and put it into a 250 degree oven for 15 minutes or so, to lightly toast the nuts and oats.
While the oat, nut, seed mixture is toasting in the oven, mix up your sucanat, honey, coconut oil, sea salt, and vanilla in a sauce pan.
Heat the honey mixture on medium until it starts to boil. If you let it go longer, it will become like a strong candy like adhesive for the bars. If you let it boil for only a short time, the granola bars will be softer and easier to chew, but they may or may not hold firmly together.
It is definately an art and trial and error to learn the exact length of time to heat your mixture to get the exact texture you like the best. Just make sure you don’t let it boil to long or it will make your bars like a rock. So make a batch, and if it turns out a little to soft, then next time add a couple minutes to this step and tweak it till it is perfect.
Pour this honey mixture over the toasted oat mixture, and any dried fruit you wanted to use in the recipe.
Some yummy fruit combinations might be:
mango and strawberry
blueberry and lemon
blueberry and pomegranit
apricot and cherry
apple berry cinamon
pear and mango
pinaple and strawberry
etc. your imagination is the only limit.
I used dried cherries and dried papaya.
Then toss everything together and coat well with the honey mixture.
Next, pour the whole mixture into a parchement lined cake pan or cookie sheet, and with an additional sheet of parchment paper, press down firmly. Try to get all the mixture pressed firmly and evenly. This will make a difference in how well the bars hold together and how they look. So do your best to press down hard.
If using chocolate chips on top, let them melt till they are soft to the touch, then spread them with a knife just like you would spread a thin layer of frosting on a cake.
Allow to cool completely before cutting. You can put it in the refridgerator for an hour, or just leave on the counter for three hours in a cool room. Then cut into bars.
You could leave the chocolate off, but wow, it sure is a delicious combination.
Yummy! I couldn’t keep the kids out of this batch.
I need to get another batch made right away.
Store in an air tight container. We had company coming, and these didn’t last long enough to store at my house. They were gobbled up fast.
These bars are so nutrient dense.
Coconut oil adds lauric acid into our diet. It is a natural immune system booster. It fights bacteria, virus, and
fungus. Lauric acid is present in breast milk and helps babies fight infections. Coconut oil is a great fat to include in your diet. It also contains medium chain fatty acids, and this form of fat is much easier to digest than olive oil or other fats. It is used by the body quickly without taxing the liver to convert it into a usable form as in other oils. It also signals the brain that your hunger need has been satisfied, and for this reason, coconut oil is used in a lot of weight loss programs. It has a high heat tollerance, and for that reason it is used a lot in frying, sauteing and baking. Where other fats would just burn. It is just a very good healthy fat to have around.
The pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and nuts add a rich source of healthy fiber, fats, and minerals like magnesium, selenium, omegas, and have many wonderful nutritional benefits. If you sprout your nuts and oats ahead of time, they also will be loaded with enzymes and even more vitamins. Sprouting (or presoaking) nuts, seeds, and grains is the healthiest way to prepare them for use by the human body. You can read more about this concept and how to do it at the Weston A Price Foundation website.
Honey is also antiviral and antifungal. Sucanat is full of vitamins and minerals. The dried fruit has fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidents.
These bars are truly a healthy alternative to store bought energy bars and granola bars.
And they are so much fun to make with kids in the kitchen.