Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Today begins my epic journey into the wild. Right now, I sit on my couch enjoying the calm before the storm, eating chocolate and sipping a glass of wine. Remembering that not too long ago, I braved the elements, spent 8 hours hiking the most gruesome (

referring to it's vertical incline

) mountain. Slept on a glacier, frozen, and all-consumed in my own fear. A year ago this weekend, for the first time, I hiked into the mountains with all of my gear on my back. Alone with Mr. H in the wilderness. Since then, we have become somewhat more prepared, and enthusiastic about backpacking. A wineskin rather than a bottle, down sleeping bag instead of synthetic. I now dress for practicality, not style. This weekend, a few of us will brave the elements and circumnavigate Mount St. Helens. Loowit trail, a 3 day, 28-mile hike with an elevation gain of 4000 ft. I am excited and mildly terrified. I will need you to pray for me, that in my deepest and darkest hour, I resist the urge to cry.

I've spent the last couple of days planning out each meal. Separating into plastic bags, sorting and labeling. It is very important  that each and every meal be extremely delicious, to preserve mental sanity. When you've spent the whole day hiking, dirty and sore, sometimes all that one can be excited about, is food. Mr. H and I have come to the conclusion that it is much easier to pack freeze dried meals and add water, than to cook and dirty dishes. Plus, food takes up space and weight, and you want your pack to be as light as possible (

to leave room for the wine

). Much time and research was done this last week, ensuring that we get the tastiest of them all. With a limited vegetarian selection, we settled on

Mary Janes Farm


bare burrito


curried lentil bisque

. A full report next week on their respective tastiness. 

As for snacks, I like mine to include chocolate, and after scanning the aisles for granola/energy bars without much success, I settled on a homemade recipe. A hodge-podge recipe of sorts, with ingredients already stocked in my pantry. I added some wheat germ for extra fibre, chocolate chips, and some raisins for good measure. These bars are chewy, sweet, salty, and slightly buttery. Miles above anything you can purchase at the store. I threw a couple bars in our packs, with along with some

Justins maple almond butter

. Something I will be dreaming about all day!





makes 18 bars

notes: i like the addition of raisins, but you can leave them out if you are in the no-raisin-in-my-cookie camp. 


2 cups quick oats

1 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup wheat germ

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup chocolate chips

3/4 cup raisins

1 egg

1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled

1/2 cup honey

2 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 ºF.

In a large bowl, mix the oats, flour, sugar, wheat germ, salt, cinnamon, chocolate chips, and raisins. 

In a medium size bowl, whisk the egg. Then whisk in the melted butter, honey, and vanilla. 

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine.

Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with butter. Pour the mixture into the pan and press flat with a spatula or piece of waxed paper and your hands. Ensure that all of the granola has been smoothed out to the sides. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 17 minutes, or until the edges have turned light brown. 

Remove from the oven and let cool. Once cooled, cut into desired shapes. Wrap in small snack bags, and store in the freezer, or in the fridge for up to two weeks. 

Chewy Chocolate Hazelnut Granola Bars

Life is getting busy. On top of our daily tasks, we've got winter sports, dinner parties, birthday parties, vacations, and friends. Hectic schedules sometimes keep us from getting our health on. But lets not forget that it is important to take some time to care for ourselves. Sometimes we need a little granola to get our health on. Whether it's served up parfait style or in chewy bar form, granola is not just for the crunchers. A hearty homemade granola with lots of seeds, nuts, and dried fruit can be a great source of fibre, protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, which sounds pretty awesome to me.

Sometimes when life gets a little busy, tossing a box of commercial granola bars into your cart seems totally easy, and that's fair. But if I told you that it only takes 10 minutes to make a super delicious chewy treat packed with major health, would you still reach for that box?

Making homemade granola bars exercises the creativeness in me. Making is granola is a very personal experience.  You can add any ingredient that pleases your palate. You'll need oats, which is a must, any type of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and a binder/sweetener/glaze. Something sticky like honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar to hold it together and add sweetness. All of your delicious ingredients will taste extra amazing once they've toasted in the oven for 20 minutes.

Once the granola has baked, it is ready to be mixed with some oil, honey, and nut butter. This will hold it all together creating the granola bar's shape. Such a wonderful snack for a busy and hectic week/month/life.

makes 12 bars

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped
1 tbsp flax seeds
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp cranberry juice
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup cherries, chopped
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup hazelnut butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1 ounce dark chocolate, melted

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

In a large bowl, combine the rolled oats, hazelnuts, flax seeds, coconut, and brown sugar.

In a small bowl, whisk the oil, honey, cranberry juice, and vanilla.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a wooden spoon.

Spread over a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, stirring after 10.

Remove the granola from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Add the chopped cherries and stir.

In a small saucepan, heat the honey, hazelnut butter, and canola oil on medium heat until it reaches a boil.

Add the wet ingredients to the granola and stir. Place a piece of wax paper into a 8 or 9 inch baking pan and press flat with a spatula.

Heat one ounce of dark chocolate in a double boiler. Once it has melted, drizzle over the granola bars. Place in the fridge to let cool. Cut and serve. May be stored in the fridge for up to a week.