Sunday, March 17, 2013

Home-Made Granola Bars with Coconut

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I have been experimenting with coconut oil. It is a saturated fat that is high in medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s). As a saturated fat, you can cook with coconut oil at high temperatures and it will be much less prone to oxidation compared with liquid oils (so less stress on the body). Additionally, MCT’s are absorbed more easily than longer chain fats and are not stored in the adipose tissue, so could be supportive for weight loss. In fact, in an open-label pilot study involving 20 obese volunteers, the use of coconut oil was associated with a significantly reduced waist circumference.

All that appeals to me (plus it tastes amazing), so I use a little for stir-frys or cooking eggs. The big problem is that it is expensive, so I was thrilled when Nutiva had a “coconut madness sale” (seriously, I couldn't make this up). My large tub of coconut oil was about half the price! The problem is that it came with a 3 pound bag of coconut flakes. What can you do with 3 POUNDS of coconut flakes? Macaroons? There are only so many of those I can eat! My kids won’t touch them. Wandering around online, I found this great no-bake recipe for granola bars and had to try them:

No-Bake Granola Bars
adapted from Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup crispy brown rice cereal
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup chia or flax seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

Directions:
  1. In a large bowl, stir oats and rice cereal together. Set aside.
  2. In a small pot, melt coconut oil, honey and brown sugar together over medium high heat until it comes to a bubble. Reduce the heat and cook 2 minutes.
  3. Pour in vanilla and stir. Pour over dry ingredients and mix well to moisten all ingredients.
  4. Pour into lightly greased small jelly roll pan and press out to be about 3/4 inch in thickness. Pack tightly! If your pan isn’t small enough, pack the mixture into one side.
  5. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and press down lightly. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for an hour before cutting into bars. Wrap in parchment or plastic wrap and store at room temperature.

The verdict: Everyone loved them!

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