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Almond Butter Chocolate Granola Bars

January 29, 2015

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Remember back when I dedicated an entire blog post to my (unofficial) dissertation acknowledgments? That list summed up a lot of what my life was like during the 7 years I spent in graduate school. Laptopping, caffeinating, internetting, and procrasti-cooking.

Now that I finally have my PhD, it’s been odd adjusting to life as a non-student. My first few months of unstructured (un-)(self-)employment as a freelance editor felt remarkably similar to the years when I was working on my dissertation, except suddenly I wasn’t stressed about both school and money anymore! (Just money!)

Ingredients for Almond Butter Chocolate Granola Bars

Since the beginning of this month, though, I’ve needed to start adjusting to my non-studentness even faster: I got a new job!

I’m working in the writing center of a local university, and I get to be involved both with administrative work and in training our peer writing tutors, which means that part of my job will also be to keep up with research on the teaching of writing.

I feel very lucky to have found a job that seems challenging and interesting, and also grateful that it’s only part time, so I can still do a little freelance editing, (and keep up the blogging) on the side.

Making Almond Butter Chocolate Granola Bars

I’ll miss the completely unstructured time I had as a student, and I’ll miss friendships with fellow grad students when we were all in the same boat, but other than that, I am excited to transition from student person to non-student person!*

The time issue is what will require the most adjustment, though. I can no longer spend my days sitting at my computer in my pajamas, and walking out to the kitchen to nibble on things every 45 minutes or so, all day long…

Almond Butter Chocolate Granola BarsPin it!

Instead, I have to wake up BEFORE THE SUN RISES every morning to get dressed and drive Paula to work — I fully acknowledge that this is what Paula has always done for her full-time job, without ever complaining about it — so I can use the car to drive to work, and I also have to remember to pack a lunch, and utensils, and snacks.

Almond Butter Chocolate Granola BarsPin it!

Snacks are always an essential for me; I basically never leave the house without some. (Exception: if I am going directly to a restaurant, then returning directly home.)

Making Almond Butter Chocolate Granola Bars

And snacks are extra essential when you have a job that involves weird hours that differ from day to day, not to mention lots of coordinating with other people’s schedules, covering for other people during their lunch breaks, and having lots of irregular and/or spontaneous meetings, often somewhere in the 11am-2pm range.

Making Almond Butter Chocolate Granola Bars

That’s where hearty, healthy homemade snacks like almond butter granola bars come in. I’ve made a batch of these every weekend since starting my new job, and then Paula and I bring them to work and eat them over the week.

Almond Butter Chocolate Granola BarsPin it!

I have nothing against storebought granola bars, really (except that they’re overly sweet and expensive), but homemade granola bars — as I’ve only recently discovered — are truly easy to make; and you can of course adjust the sweetness and mix in whatever dried nuts, dried fruit, crunchy cereal, or crazy flavorings you like.

Making Almond Butter Chocolate Granola Bars

The first type of homemade bars I tried making were peanut butter banana granola bars, which were good, but a little… banana-y. These are a little drier and firmer than granola bars made with banana, but they’re still plenty sweet and flavorful, thanks to almond butter, cocoa powder, agave or maple syrup, roughly chopped almonds, and chocolate chips.

Making Almond Butter Chocolate Granola Bars

And despite those sweet ingredients, they still seem pretty healthy to me, especially considering that they are about 70% oats, with some omega-3 flax seeds added in (to act like an egg in binding the oats together).

Almond Butter Chocolate Granola Bars, just before baking

As you might imagine, they’re also quite filling! I can personally vouch for the fact that if you completely forget to eat lunch one day, but then eat two of these around 3pm instead, it will be a lot easier to make it till dinner time.

Almond Butter Chocolate Granola BarsPin it!

* I’ll also miss bringing my laptop to coffee shops to work — although the real reason I can’t do that anymore is because I now require a crazy set-up (foot rest, raised laptop monitor, ergonomic keyboard, and ergonomic mouse) because of my RSI/tendinitis. But I can see the upside, too: I guess now I’ll have to be one of those people who goes to coffee shops just to sit, talk, and enjoy drinking coffee!

Print this recipe. (PDF)

RECIPE:

Almond Butter Chocolate Granola Bars
(Inspired by the Peanut Butter Banana Granola Bars in OATrageous Oatmeals by Kathy Hester.)

(Makes 16 granola bars)

Active time: 15 minutes; Total time: 40 minutes.

Ingredients:
~ 3 cups oats
~ ½ tsp. cocoa powder
~ ¼ tsp. salt
~ dash of cinnamon
~ 2 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
~ 5 Tbsp. warm water
~ ⅔ cup unsalted almond butter (or peanut butter)
~ ⅓ cup agave syrup or maple syrup
~ ½ tsp. vanilla extract
~ ¼ cup almonds, chopped
~ ½ cup chocolate chips

How to make it:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, cocoa powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, combine the ground flax seeds with the warm water, stir, and let sit for 2-3 minutes (it will thicken up slightly, acting like an egg to bind the ingredients together).

3. To the small bowl with the flax seed “eggs,” add the almond butter, syrup, and vanilla extract, and stir until smooth (breaking up any large clumps of almond butter).

4. Use a silicone spatula to add the wet ingredients in the small bowl to the dry ones in the medium bowl, and stir until well-combined. Mix in the chopped almonds and chocolate chips.

Ingredients for Almond Butter Chocolate Granola BarsAlmond Butter Chocolate Granola Bars, just before baking

5. Turn out onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and use the spatula to press it into a large rectangle, even out the surface, and neaten up the sides.

Just Baked Almond Butter Chocolate Granola BarsAlmond Butter Chocolate Granola Bars

6. Bake for 25 minutes. Then let cool before slicing into 16 small rectangular granola bars (or whatever size/shape you prefer). Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Print this recipe! (PDF)

Almond Butter Chocolate Granola BarsPin it!

Related recipe posts:

Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls Almond Coconut Granola with Dried Cherries One-Bowl Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread Peach Rhubarb Oatmeal Bars
Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls Almond Coconut Granola with Dried Cherries One-Bowl Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread Peach Rhubarb Oatmeal Bars
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32 Comments leave one →
  1. January 29, 2015 9:07 am

    Luv n your blog….. So many great goodies….

  2. January 29, 2015 1:25 pm

    I recently bought some granola bars to keep at my desk in case of snacking emergencies, but they’re, well…not very satisfying. Obviously I need to try making my own! Congrats on the new job – that sounds like a pretty cool position :)

    • January 30, 2015 8:36 am

      Thanks! :) Yeah, I guess the only downside to homemade granola bars is that they won’t last quite as long as storebought ones, just sitting in a desk, if your snacking emergencies are only few & far between… but if you have daily snacking emergencies like I do, then they would make a nice replacement!

  3. January 29, 2015 1:58 pm

    Your granola bars look delicious, perfect for a tasty snack at uni!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  4. January 29, 2015 2:01 pm

    Congratulations to the new job! And to the delicious-looking granola bars ;-)

  5. January 29, 2015 2:07 pm

    These look amazing – so much better than anything commercial and I love the mix of flavours with cinnamon and vanilla etc. Definitely worth skipping lunch for. Or just having anyway. Or creating an EXTRA meal in the day in order to include them. :D

  6. January 29, 2015 4:07 pm

    I love homemade granola bars! Can’t wait to try these! I love the idea of the ground flax seeds and water acting as a binder. Thanks for sharing <3

    • January 30, 2015 8:39 am

      Thanks for commenting! Yeah, that idea of using flax seeds as an egg replacement is a great one, but it’s not original at all — I think a lot of people use that substitution (or a similar one with chia seeds) in all kinds of vegan baked goods.

      Anyway, I don’t even notice the flax seeds when I’m eating these granola bars, but I love knowing that they’re in there for the omega-3s!

  7. January 29, 2015 9:27 pm

    Congratulations on the new job! Granola bars look great. The 70% oats make then low GI so guess that’s why they will really fill you up and tide you over. Going to try some myself. Thank you!

    • January 30, 2015 8:40 am

      Thanks! Yeah and they’re also really filling from the chopped almonds I think. So glad to hear you plan to try this out — hope you enjoy them!

  8. January 30, 2015 5:44 am

    this looks fabulous! thanks.

  9. January 30, 2015 5:23 pm

    do you think I could substitute Honey for Maple syrup?

    • February 12, 2015 10:09 am

      Yes, I think that should work! (Although I haven’t tried it.) You might want to warm the honey up just a little bit first, to make it easier to dissolve/stir into the other wet ingredients before you add them to the dry ones.

      • February 13, 2015 1:27 am

        Good suggestion. I tried a mixture of honey and golden syrup. Not sure if you have? I guess its a little lighter than treacle. I think it was a bit strong. Am going to try just honey next time.

      • February 13, 2015 8:26 am

        I don’t think I’ve ever seen/tried golden syrup or treacle! But I’m glad to hear you’re nearly there in finding a syrup substitute!

  10. January 30, 2015 7:02 pm

    Really appreciate the PDF print this recipe link. It is really helpful!

    • February 12, 2015 10:10 am

      Great to hear it! There are printable PDF links for all of my recipes (but I only started typing that “(PDF)” description after the recipe link after my first year or so of blogging).

  11. January 30, 2015 10:26 pm

    Hello!
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  12. February 3, 2015 7:56 am

    Congrats on the job! And the phd! (I’ve been out of the blog world lately) I seriously need to get on the snack train because by 5pm I’m all sorts of hangry. It’s a problem. I’m all for homemade granola bars over store bought.

  13. afracooking permalink
    February 4, 2015 12:57 pm

    This looks like exactly the right snack to get one through a working day :-)

    • February 12, 2015 10:12 am

      Definitely! This exact recipe of granola bars has been getting me through *every* working day so far (since I started my job right at the beginning of Jan.), and I’m still not sick of them!

  14. pololifestylemagazine permalink
    February 6, 2015 8:18 am

    Looks yummy!

  15. walgenbe permalink
    April 27, 2015 2:40 pm

    Happy you’re recovered more and back to blogging again! I am so going to try these, and maybe give a shot to tweaking the recipe as you suggested to add a little more protein for a during/post climbing snack. I get so hungry and things like cliff bars are so expensive! Any thoughts on increasing the protein without making them taste gross?

  16. June 1, 2015 1:25 pm

    yummy ^^

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