This is a recipe my sister sent me...
1 C. oats
¼ C. almonds
1 T. sesame seeds
¼ C. sunflower seeds
1 T. flaxseeds
1/3 C. dried cherries (or any dried fruit or mixture of dried fruit)
¼ C. creamy peanut butter
¼ C. brown rice syrup
¼ C. brown sugar
½ t. vanilla extract
1/8 t. salt
1 T. unsweetened applesauce ( 1 rounded tablespoon is perfect chewiness, crisper with less)
1 C. unsweetened whole-grain puffed cereal (1/2 C. Rice Krispies + 1/2 C Kashi 7)
¼ C. mini or regular chocolate chips
Preheat oven 350 degrees. Spread oats, almonds, and sesame seeds (and sunflower seeds if not already roasted), on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until oats are lightly toasted, shaking halfway through, about 10 minutes.
Transfer oats to large bowl.
Process almonds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds to a coarse powder. Add to bowl.
Process 1 T. flax seed to powder; add dried fruit to flax seed and pulse about 12-15 times to coarse lumps. Set aside.
Put peanut butter, brown rice syrup, and brown sugar in a microwave proof 4 C. container. Microwave on high 30 seconds, stir till smooth; microwave one more minute on high. Add vanilla, applesauce, salt and fruit/flaxseed mixture and stir until smooth. Immediately pour over the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon or spatula until no dry spots remain.
The add ½ C. rice krispies and ½ C. kashi puffs, and stir lightly until combined.
Last, add ¼ C. mini chocolate chips, with minimal stirring to minimize melting.
Transfer to prepared pan. (Waxed paper in 8”x8” pan, then spray waxed paper.)
Lightly coat your hands, or a spatula, with cooking spray and press the mixture down firmly to make an even layer (wait till cools slightly if necessary).
Cut into 10 bars while warm and in pan, in order to score them, so when cooled they are easy to finish cutting.
Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Remove waxed paper from pan and cut into 10 bars.
About 200 calories a bar.
Double batch makes a 9 x 13 pan that cuts into 1/3rds on the width and 1/6ths on the length.
If you like your bars to be chewier, increase the applesauce. (5 T. is too much, kind of soggy.)
Increased Protein variation:
Add one scoop Syntha-6 vanilla protein powder, decrease dried fruit to ¼ C. Add ¼ C. roasted soy nuts (grind in chopper with sunflower seeds) Increase applesauce to 2 T.
My variation: I prepared the granola bars as listed above, but used mixed dried berries (blueberries, cherries, cranberries) instead of just cherries - chopped up fine so that they are not really noticeable to the kids; and added the vanilla soy protein powder and an extra T of applesauce. I didn't have soy nuts on hand and I also didn't have Kashi, so I just used a mix of brown rice puffs and Rice Krispies for the cereals. They are very tasty and should last a few weeks for sure if kept in the fridge.