Monday, February 6, 2012
Dark Chocolate Dipped Granola Bars
Heart-shaped granola bars dipped in dark luscious chocolate for Valentine's Day. These heart healthy bars has lots of oats, almonds, raisins, dried cranberries, and agave nectar to give the bars enough sweetness to satisfy your sweet tooth. I used a 2 1/2-inch heart cookie cutter which made 11 granola hearts. Happy Valentine's Day to all!
1/4 cup peanut butter, creamy
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or skim milk
3 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries or any dried fruit you would like here
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and I used parchment paper on top of the foil.
In a small saucepan heat on low, the peanut butter, applesauce, milk, agave or honey, cocoa powder, cinnamon, almond extract, and vanilla extract. Whisk until well combined. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix oats, coconut, raisins, cranberries, and almonds. Fold in the peanut butter mixture. Place cookie cutter on parchment lined cookie sheet and spoon batter into cookie cutter, filling to top of cookie cutter. Press down with spoon. Gently lift the cookie cutter away from the granola and press down around edges to help keep its shape. Reform granola hearts with spoon if necessary and repeat.
Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack completely. Put a piece of wax paper under wire rack. In microwave safe bowl put chocolate chips and microwave for 1 minute. Stir with fork to make sure chips have melted. Take cooled granola bar and dip into melted chips and place back on rack to cool. Then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Enjoy!