Sunday, November 25, 2007

Maple Hemp Granola Bars

We are still scarfing back leftovers from yesterday's party, so I thought I would say a few words about lunch. If you don't already know, the Vegan Lunchbox cookbook is the best thing to happen to lunchtime since . . . well, sliced bread, I guess. The recipes are tasty, creative, and kid-friendly. When I was a kid I took PB&J most of the time--I still love it, actually. But, due to peanut allergies, peanut butter has been banned from the kids' school. So, the kids take hummus and veggies, vegetable soup, veggie meat and crackers, that kind of thing.

I have been working on a granola bar recipe to give the kids an extra nutrition boost at school. The trick is making a vegan granola bar that sticks together without honey, corn syrup, or peanut butter. These have maple syrup and flax to bind them together, sunflower seeds for calcium, pepitas for iron, and hemp for protein.

- 4 cups quick cooking oats
- 1/3-1/2 cup canola oil (you can get away with 1/3 cup if you want a lower fat recipe--the bars will be a bit drier)
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1 cup vegan chocolate chips
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup each hemp seeds, hemp powder, raisins, sunflower seeds, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), ground flax seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Spread oats out on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 mins, stirring twice to prevent burning.
2. Mix all other ingredients in a large bowl. Add in warm oats and mix well.
3. Press mixture into a lightly oiled 9x13 pan, using a piece of waxed paper. They key here is to press really hard and compact the mixture as much as possible.
4. Bake for 25-30 mins, until golden brown. Cool completely and cut into bars.