These tasty granola bars are chewy with a bit of a crunch, chocolatey, complex-tasting, and not cloyingly sweet. They are made with wonderfully nutritious ingredients that replenish your energy without weighing you down with fat. Fresh cranberries are sold only around the winter holidays, but don’t let that stop you: these bars are also great if you use dried cherries (sweet or sour) instead. Make sure you get oil- and sugar-free organic ones, and if using sweet cherries, dial down the dates by about a cup.
Makes 16 bars.
1½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
¾ cup raw buckwheat groats
2 mashed ripe medium-sized bananas
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup freshly ground golden flaxseeds
½ cup freshly ground chia seeds
½ cup organic cacao powder
3½ cups finely chopped, pitted Medjool dates, or to taste
1 cup finely chopped fresh organic cranberries
Pinch ground chipotle powder
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Mound the entire mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment, and, with two straight-edge rulers or icing spatulas, shape into a roughly 8-inch square that is 1 inch thick.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and gently cut it in half. Then, using a sharp or serrated knife, slice each half into 1-inch strips. Carefully separate the strips, leaving about an inch between them to facilitate airflow and even baking.
- Return the bars to the oven for approximately 35 minutes or until fragrant, firm, and golden. Transfer the bars to a cooling rack and let cool. Chocolate Cranberry Energy Bars will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks (if they last that long). They also freeze beautifully, lasting up to 3 months.
Cathy Katin-Grazzini is a plant-based chef and cookbook author of Love the Foods that Love You Back. She is Food Editor for VEGWORLD magazine, and manages her blog, Cathy’s Kitchen Prescription, where she shares her latest recipes and guidance on sustainable, healthy, vegan cooking, nutrition, and lifestyle. Certified in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies at Cornell, she went on to complete professional culinary training at Rouxbe Cooking School. Katin-Grazzini is a member of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and trained as a PCRM Food for Life instructor. She and her husband, Giordano Katin-Grazzini, who photographed the cookbook, live in Ridgefield, Connecticut.