Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars with Cherries (Vegan)
What I haven’t told you is that I’ve decided to go vegan for a few weeks. I know. I have a half gallon of half-and-half in my refrigerator. I was reading up on veganism and noticed that a common trait among vegans is they are across-the-board THIN people. Have you noticed that??? They (the thin people) say it just happens naturally when you stop eating things with faces. Seriously, they say that.
Therefore, if at least one or two of these eighteen pounds don’t “naturally” migrate off my body by the end of the month, I will reunite my coffee with my half-and-half. In the mean time, I’ve been drinking it with warmed up almond milk. Which isn’t bad, as long as I put a lid on it. My coffee drinking is a visual experience for me, and if it isn’t the right color, it messes with my psyche.
That said, I’m having a lot of fun in my kitchen creating vegan meals. My husband has been pleasantly surprised at how good everything tastes, while my children are hiding the cheese and pepperonis in their closets for fear “soy versions” will magically appear.
One of the first things I did in my little conversion to veganism was make a vegan version of the Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars from the last post. My husband took a few to work and apparently, they were all the rage with the office folk So, for the sake of Jon’s co-workers, I give you
Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars with Cherries
Ingredients (I use all organic)
- 3 1/2 cups quick oats
- 1 Cup Rice Crispies (Whole Foods 365 Brand has a brown rice cereal that I used)
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/3 cup ground flax seed
- 1/3 cup chopped or sliced almonds
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- I cup natural peanut butter
- 1 cup honey
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup vegan chocolate chips (any chocolate chips without milk would work)
- I cup dried cherries (they look like raisins, which would also work–or any dried fruit of choice)
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease a jelly roll pan or a cookie sheet, unless you have a non-stick one, which I do.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, flour, nuts, baking soda and flax seed until well blended. You may want to pulse this a few times in a blender or food processor, which will make the mixture a little finer, like flour, and easier to blend with the wet ingredients.
3. In a separate bowl mix vanilla, peaut butter, honey and brown sugar. Be sure to lick the spoon, because nothing says YUM like vanilla, peanut butter, honey and brown sugar.
3. Combine wet and dry ingredients. It works best if you add a little bit of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in batches. Toward the end of the mixing, it also works well if you squish it with your fingers. If it’s too crumbly, try adding a little more honey or peanut butter.
*update: I recently got a Kitchen Aid mixer. Dude. My mixing problems are OVER. No finger-squishing required. I don’t know how I’ve existed prior to the purchase of this kitchen appliance. So, if you have a Kitchen Aid mixer, use that. Of course, those of you who own a Kitchen Aid mixer already know this.
4. Add the cereal, chocolate chips and dried cherries. Squish some more. You can also just add the cereal at this step and wait to add the chocolate chips and cherries until the very end. After you press it onto the pan, you can sprinkle the chocolate chips and cherries on top.
5. Lightly press mixture into the prepared pan. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown.
6. Let cool for 10 minutes then cut into bars. Let bars cool completely in pan before removing or serving.
I made 36 squares at 181 calories each. But you won’t be able to eat just one, so double the calories for a serving.
As a fellow (almost-thin) vegan, I have a similar recipe, but it is no-bake. I will definitely have to try yours next week for my weekly granola-baking session. 🙂 Here is my version in case you want to give it a try:
1 1/2 cups of puffed rice cereal (I prefer Nature's Path)
1 1/2 cups of rolled oats
1/2 cup of quick oats
1/2 cup of nuts or seeds
1/4 cup of flax seed (I've used whole seeds and
1/3 cup of chilled mini choc chips or dried fruit
1/2 cup of liquid sweetener of choice (I prefer grade B maple syrup – although it is pricey it has many health benefits)
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of nut or seed butter
Pinch of salt
3/4 tsp of vanilla or almond extract
Cinnamon to taste (optional)
Combine the dry ingredients. Heat the sweeteners in a saucepan, stirring occasionally. Add nut peanut/almond butter, salt and cinnamon stirring constantly until it thickens. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Mix together, and add choc chips or dried fruit. Press into pan and let set for an hour.
I don't really know what the calories are…hmmm?!?!?
Tell me what you think if you try it. TTYL
I now have honey! Can't wait to try:)
Do you happen to have the nutritional content of this? I'm keeping track of what I eat so that would help. If not, I will think, "ooh healthy I can eat unlimited quantities" And well, I learned the hard way that whether healthy or unhealthy, vegan, vegetarian, or full fledge carnivore…if I eat too much of anything and it finds a nice comfy spot around my waiste. (mind you, it is good to have a built in flotation device should I happen to fall into the ocean but otherwise, it isn't working for me.).
Hope going vegan works for you. Just promise me that you will not forego shaving your legs and using deodorant. =)