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Nuts and dried fruit are condensed magic. This grain-free nut & seed granola bar taps into the trail mix addiction. The bars are Paleo, GAPS and too good. You’ll be too happy eating them. Especially the chocolate chip version. I have to be careful not to eat too many! We didn’t want to wait for these to get photographed. And my husband keeps telling people about them. Yep, that good.
Years ago, my hubby and I went trekking in Egypt. We first went to our favorite outdoor market in Jerusalem, hand selecting the best dates, walnuts and other dried fruits and nuts. As we hiked through the Sinai Desert, our food was in our pockets.
I couldn’t have been happier: no insects and trail mix all day!
There are several versions you can make. I don’t eat fruit anymore (long story) so I make mine with a combination of sprouted nuts, seeds and peanuts, the awesome goo that holds them together (more on that below), and chocolate chips. Kids 1, 2 & 3 like theirs best with fruit and chocolate, no wonder. Chopped up dried bananas are featured in the bars I photographed. But dried or freeze-dried berries are exchangeable, deelish and super pretty.
These Paleo, GAPS bars are flexible. You can tailor them to your dietary needs. You can use only seeds, if you are nut-free. Leave out the chocolate or peanuts, if you need to, etc.
I have long wanted to make a sprouted grain-free “granola” bar but have never slowed down long enough to do it. A couple weeks ago I came across a recipe for natural rice crispy treats with a syrup approach that intrigued me. The recipe’s creator whisked gelatin directly into hot maple syrup and coconut oil to create the “glue,” so to speak, of her treat. I loved the idea and created this bar recipe based on her inspiration.
Mine is made with honey, for all my beloved GAPS-type folks, my kids included. BUT it can easily and happily be made with maple syrup. My favorite version of this recipe is to follow the classic granola bar model and use everything but the kitchen sink, the trail mix theme I mention above: sprouted walnuts, sprouted pepitas, hemp seeds, sprouted peanuts, unsweetened chocolate chips, and dried bananas or goji berries. I pulse the nuts a bit to break them up. The mixture is fab, dee-lish, and fun!
I’ve used cocoa butter in my recipe for the fat source because I love its staying power and flavor! (Find it here.) It tastes of chocolate, as I’ve mentioned before lovingly, and it caramelizes nicely. When you’re eating these bars you get little pockets of gooey caramel that taste fruity, and like a happy-treat in your teeth.
Lastly, you may optionally dip your bars’ bottoms in chocolate. They’re great either way. The dip just puts them over the top, if you want an extra chocolaty flavor or for them to look special.
I am staunch about sprouting nuts and seeds. When you’ve been sick and focused on healing your digestive mechanism for years (like me), you get serious about what’s going to take you there. Unsprouted nuts make an unfaithful friend. Be kind to you, and soak. Here’s how and why.
(If you know you aren’t up for it, then I recommend budgeting in the cost of already sprouted nuts and seeds. These are the least expensive. :))
Great for lunches, snacks and even breakfast, here’s the nutrient-dense Paleo Granola Bar!
- 3 cups sprouted nuts, seeds or peanuts or a combination of several
- 1 cup hemp seeds, also called hemp hearts
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips, goji berries, raisins or freeze-dried fruit or a combination of several
- 1/3 cup raw honey or pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup COCOA butter, melted and measured from 1/5 lb., see link below
- 2 T. sustainably-sourced gelatin, see link below
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/8 tsp. sea salt optional
Grease two loaf pans or a 9"x 9" casserole dish. Set aside.
Place honey and cocoa butter into medium-large size saucepan and whisk over medium heat until fully melted. While whisking constantly, over very low heat, sprinkle gelatin in slowly, to avoid clumping, until it's all fully incorporated.
Add the sprouted nuts, seeds or legumes, vanilla and sea salt. If you're adding dried or sturdy* freeze-dried fruit, add this now, too. Stir to completely coat the nuts with syrup. The mixture will become very sticky and thick.
Working quickly, loosely spread 1/3 of mixture out into each greased dish. If using chocolate chips or freeze-dried fruit that's fragile, sprinkle 2/3 of them evenly over the surfaces. Pour/scoop remaining sticky mixture over the surface of each. Sprinkle final 1/3 of chips and/or fruit. Press mixture flat, firmly.
Refrigerate one hour or longer. Cut into desired shape and serve.
If you wish to dip the bottom halves of your bars in chocolate, see Recipe notes below.
*Some freeze dried fruits will stand up to stirring, such as apples or mangoes. Other freeze-dried fruits, such as raspberries, are very brittle and will crush or crumble. Layer the more brittle fruits with the chocolate chip step instead of stirring them in, to prevent crushing them.
- 1/4 cup melted cocoa butter, still slightly warm
- 2 Tablespoons cacao powder
- 2 Tablespoons honey or maple syrup
- Freeze bars, for 10 minutes, on parchment lined cookie sheet, to assist/expedite dipping process.
- Whisk ingredients together in small flat saucepan or broad bowl.
- Remove bars from freezer and dip each into chocolate, shaking off any excess. Replace onto cold cookie sheet and repeat until all bars are dipped. Place cookie sheet into freezer or fridge briefly to allow chocolate to harden off completely. Dip each a second time for a thicker coating, if desired.