Heart Healthy Granola Bars

Valentine’s Day is two weeks away so we have whipped up a fun treat to make with the kids!  This activity is really fun for all ages as the kids can choose what to add in & can do a lot of it themselves.  These granola bars are fun to make at any time, we just cut them with heart cookie cutters. I took this recipe from Smitten Kitchen and it is certainly heavy on the sugar & sweeteners, which I am okay with as this is a Valentine’s Day treat.  You can find a multitude of Granola Bar recipes online, feel free to opt in another recipe.  Our San Francisco Office Manager, Lagina, had a great suggestion – if you cut the sugar, you can ice them!

Please do note that the recipe below has nuts & nut butter – you can certainly swap in a chopped fruit & keep out the nut butter. We used dried cranberries, unsweetened coconut flakes, walnuts, pecans & wheat bran. Also fun are figs, cherries, apricots, almonds, or chocolate chips

Ingredient List Below, Directions can be found at Smitten Kitchen link above!

1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats (if gluten-free, be sure to use gluten-free oats)
1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar (use more for a sweetness akin to most purchased bars; use less for a mildly sweet bar)
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts (total of 10 to 15 ounces)*
1/3 cup peanut butter or another nut butter (I used almond butter) (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup honey, maple syrup or corn syrup
2 tablespoons light corn syrup (see Note above)
1 tablespoon water

We then took the leftovers and layered them into a yogurt parfait. We sprinkled in cranberries to keep with the Valentine’s Day Theme.

Have fun with this activity. The only baking is at the end, so the kids can do all the mixing of the dry ingredients.

You can try other shapes as well – dinosaurs, stars – let your imagination run!

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