chocolate dipped granola bars

i’m not sure how many of you out there have tried, or heard of, 5 star bars..?  they’re small chocolate bars that come in various flavors like: caramel, peanut butter, fruit and nut, and my favorite, granola! it’s the kind of chocolate bar that’s so small that you don’t feel that guilty eating it, but then once you take that last bite you’re thinking “what did i just do?” basically, they’re best eaten by two people, or – if you have enough willpower – save the last half for another time.  in any event, the recipe here is inspired by the amazing 5 star granola bar.

i didn’t think i would come close to replicating it, and i didn’t.  i suppose i wanted to make a slightly healthier version of it – making it more granola bar with some chocolate, versus, a chocolate bar with some granola.  i found the granola bar recipe from Whole Living Magazine.  the bars are vegan (you just need to substitute the honey for agave) and gluten free.  they’re naturally sweetened with honey and unsweetened applesauce.  plus, it’s a recipe that can easily incorporate any additional flavors that you enjoy – i added shredded coconut and sliced almonds.  i also thought the flavors in the bars were well suited for a layer of dark chocolate.  turns out i was right.  the lightly sweetened granola bars work really well the sweetness of (i used 65% cacao) dark chocolate.  you may want to leave a few without chocolate; they’re really good on their own as a breakfast bar or a snack.

granola

adapted from Whole Living, December 2012

makes 15 bars

pre heat oven to 350°

line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper and brush with olive oil (or coconut oil)

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:: dry mix ::

3 cups gluten-free rolled oats

1 1/2 cups dried blueberries (or dried fruit of your choosing)

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup (or more) shaved almonds

1 teaspoon course sea salt

:: wet mix ::

1/2 cup natural almond butter (at room temp, so it can soften a bit)

4 tablespoons ground flaxmeal

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/3 cup honey

3 tablespoons orange juice (i squeezed half of one orange, but you can just as easily use orange juice from your fridge)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

:: chocolate sauce ::

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

3-4 tablespoons almond milk (or milk of your choosing)

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:: directions ::

in a large bowl, combine the rolled oats, dried blueberries, cinnamon, shredded coconut, almonds and sea salt

in a medium bowl, combine the almond butter, flaxmeal, applesauce, honey, orange juice, and vanilla extract

mix the wet ingredients into the dry, mix until combined

pour the mixture into the pan and press evenly with the back of a spatula

bake on the middle rack until golden brown, 30 minutes (halfway through i rotated the pan so that the granola would bake evenly)

let the granola cool completely, then remove from pan

cut evenly into 15 pieces (you can cut them bigger, i wouldn’t cut them any smaller they may crumble and fall apart)

in a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and almond milk.  melt on a low heat, checking every 5 seconds until half the chips are melted

whisk the mixture until combined

next, dunk a quater or half the bar into the chocolate and set aside.  continue with the rest of the bars.  place them in the refrigerator so the chocolate can settle – about an hour.  i topped mine off with some fleur de sel

store in an air tight container

:: enjoy ::

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baked potato chips + dip

most baked potato chip recipes direct you to heat the oven to 400°.  so like an obedient direction follower i did.  to my disappointment my chips would inevitably blacken, burn, and (on one occasion) catch fire.  so i’m sure you can imagine how happy i was when i found a solution to my charred chip problem.  the solution is a lower oven temperature. duh? i don’t know why i never thought of that.  the result, i must say, is pretty awesome.   frank and i were super proud of ourselves when our hard (potato-slicing) work had finally paid off!  we ended up with some pretty perfect potato chips – crispy, and crunchy chips that were lightly golden.  however, if you’re looking for a Lays-type of a potato chip this is not the recipe for you.  if you are looking for a chip that’s closer to a Terra Chip (but not as greasy) then stay tuned and give this recipe a shot. {side note: i used white yams, but any potato works here}

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initially, i was not planning to do a chips + dip post, but i had some greek yogurt in the fridge and thought it would be a nice addition.  for the dip i used 0% Fage greek yogurt, alternatively you can totally use 2%, or full fat – up to you.  (for a vegan alternative you can easily substitute your favorite vegan sour cream.) again, if you’re looking for a traditional sour cream and mayo-type dip, this is not the dip for you.  the dip highlighted here is super tasty, but not heavy at all. additionally, it’s low in calories and fat-free 🙂 hopefully you will enjoy this almost guilt-free snack food.

**make sure to pay attention to how thin you slice your potatoes and how long you bake them.  obviously the thinner you slice the shorter you bake and vice versa.  also, if you’re using a mandolin, be careful! i nearly sliced off the tip of my finger off last year.  since then i have invested in a de buyer mandolin. while it was much pricier than the OXO ones, it was well worth it…DSC_0077

:: for the chips ::

2 potatoes (i used white yams)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon paprika

2 teaspoons dried parsley

ground pepper

coarse sea salt

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:: for the dip ::

1/2 cup (6oz.) of 0% fat greek yogurt

2 teaspoons dijon mustard (my favorite is Maille)

1 shallot finely chopped

salt and fresh ground pepper

:: makes about 60 chips ::

pre heat oven to 300°

line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper

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:: directions ::

using a mandoline or a knife, slice potatoes thin

combine the potatoes and olive oil until each slice it coated with oil

add paprika, parsley, salt and pepper, mix until combined

spread the slices on the parchment lined baking sheets, try not to let them touch or overlap

place the baking sheets in the oven

bake for 30 minutes – 1 hour depending on your oven and how thin you sliced your chips (some of my chips were stubborn, so the baking process took a little over an hour)

while the chips are baking, mix: yogurt, chopped shallot, dijon mustard, salt and pepper until combined

refrigerate the dip and stir before serving

the chips are ready when they are slightly browned and their edges are curled

:: enjoy ::

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