Updated: Dec 25, 2020
Finally, a snack that doesn't have added sugar and tastes just as good(if not better!) than the store bought version.
Picture this. You're at the store for your monthly groceries, and on the next shelf, a bright box catches the corner of your eye. You turn to look at it, and sure enough, it's labeled "ENERGY BARS". That's when you realize there's a whole shelf of them right next to you, just waiting to be picked up by the next eager customer. Sure enough though, when you look on the back to see the nutrition label and ingredients, among the top three is "sugar", or "sucrose", or "evaporated cane juice", or some other long extravagant word that you can't pronounce, like maltodextrin, or xanthan gum.
Evaporated cane juice and sucrose are just companies' ways of sneaking sugar into the top three ingredients. If you can't pronounce all the ingredients, you probably shouldn't buy it. Almost every energy bar promising 20 grams of protein and nutrients has at least 20 grams of sugar and added preservatives to go along with it. To give you some perspective, 20 grams of sugar is equivalent to 5 full spoons. That's more than you're supposed to consume in a day. If you eat that granola bar, it'll more than exceed your daily recommended intake of sugar, let alone all of the other stuff you eat that has added sugar in it.
But then there's the other problem: taste. If you buy(or make) bars with a low sugar content and less preservatives(like using raw oats and milk), you might as well eat cardboard. It will not taste good nor be good for your body.
For all of you who know what I'm talking about, you needn't worry anymore. This granola bar recipe has no added sugar and is super nutritious without having to compromise on taste. And an added bonus? It takes 20 minutes to prepare!
This recipe, on the other hand, only takes 20 minutes to prepare, 20-30 more to bake(so you can put it in the oven and watch Supergirl while it's cooking), and then you're done!
First, mix 1/2 cup of the following: chopped cashews, chopped almonds, and puffed rice.
Then add a teaspoon of cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and 1/4 cup of any mix-in: chocolate chips, dried fruit, whatever you want! You can also add pumpkin or sunflower seeds.
Next, in a separate bowl mix together 5-6 tablespoons of any nut butter with 3-4 tablespoons of a liquid sweetener(e.g. maple syrup, rice syrup, honey, etc). Add this mixture to the dry ingredients.
Mix well to combine, then flatten on either a parchment-lined baking tray or a greased oven-safe dish(I used the latter, but it is easier to take out with parchment paper).
Then simply bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit(180 Celsius) for 10-15 minutes and you're done
Another of the many great things about this recipe is its versatility. You can substitute different nuts with whatever you have on hand, swap out chocolate chips for dried fruit, use peanut butter instead of almond, the possibilities are endless! Feel free to play around with this recipe. You literally can't go wrong with this one. So don't be afraid to mix it up(literally) with whatever you like! Just make sure the consistency of the mixture stays the same(so keep the ratio of wet to dry ingredients).
I will say one thing though: the bars don't really hold their shape too well. When you go to cut them the one bar will usually end up into three little chunks, or crumble altogether. So I guess these could also be called granola bites. But they taste so good, you won't even care whether it's in one piece or not:)
The possibilities are endless with this recipe, so go ahead and try putting your own unique twist on it! I made a peanut-cinnamon version using peanut butter instead of almond butter and adding a bunch of cinnamon(see the picture below):