Last week we were home for the holidays, even my three-year-old was on vacation. We attempted to brave the weather (yes the -25C brrrr) and toboggan a few times and then gave up. Instead, my daughter and I huddled in front of our warm oven baking a batch of these amazing granola bars. Let me tell you we baked it a few more times, with the excuse of recipe testing (but really we were like cats curling up in front of our warm oven).
I also had my first taste of packing real lunch for my daughter, we had enrolled her in half-day gymnastics camp and I had to have lunch ready when she got home. Ok, I had all morning to think creatively and style cute bento boxes that you may have seen on my Instagram. In reality though, when she starts school in September, I won’t have the luxury of time and may resort to some of the tried and true recipes and methods, Which while safe, can sometimes become mundane.
Let me tell you a little something about my daughter. She is a bit of a food snob and as a result very discerning when it comes to food. And as a parent who faced hell feeding her up until 18 months, I welcomed this snobbery with arms wide open. My daughter went from eating nothing to suddenly asking for oven roasted cauliflower topped with chaat masala or for parmesan cheese in her pasta or almond butter in her smoothie. I was ecstatic beyond myself. Now the bar has been set quite high. I could afford to indulge her on the weekends, knowing fully well she had to eat the food that she got at daycare on weekdays and I didn’t have to bother with packing a lunch for her.
She has some creative ideas when it comes to what she wants for lunch or snack, she told me she wants sweet potato gnocchi for lunch (I told you we are spoilt) or hummus sandwich or paneer paratha and raita for lunch. I may not be able to work a full-time job if I have to pack that kind of a lunch! LOL. Well, I have been secretly testing recipes that may work for lunch (both school safe and make ahead) – tomato rice, carrot soup and some more basic recipes. She has been receptive, but it is a work in progress and my main mission for this year
When it comes to snacks though, some permutation of fruits, cheese, and nut free granola bars can work! I know this was a long winding path to finally get to the point of about these amazing granola bar, but I had to tell you about the almost-4-year-old in my life.
These bars are aaaammmmmaaaazing, if I can say so myself. They have the right amount sweetness and the chocolate drizzle on the top makes it so special. The millet seed really gives it a nice crunch, but I can’t take credit for such a brilliant idea (Deb used millets in this version of her banana bread which I love, this is seriously the best way to keep it nut-free)
Banana Bread Granola bar // Makes 10 bars
Banana Bread Granola bar
For the Granola Bar
- 1 tablespoon flax egg (1 tablespoon flax meal and 3 tablespoons of water)
- 1/2 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoon maple syrup/ date syrup
- ⅓ cup coconut sugar
- 1 ripe banana mashed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup millet seeds
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 heaping tablespoon of sunflower seed or pumpkin seeds or both
For the chocolate drizzle
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 180C or 350F. Line an 8-inch square tin with parchment.
Prepare the flax egg by mixing ground up flax seeds and water and set aside.
In a small saucepan heat oil, maple/date syrup, and sugar over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Stirring constantly to help form a smooth mixture. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large bowl mash up the banana with a fork, if you have a few chunks that is perfectly fine. Stir in the oil/maple syrup mixture and the flax egg until well combined. Now add in all the dry ingredients, oats, millets, salt, seeds and coconut and stir until it is well coated.
With damp hands press the mixture down into the prepared baking tin and bake for 25-30 minutes, till the edges are crispy and golden.
While it bakes prepare the chocolate drizzle. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Remove from heat and stir the salt and vanilla until it is smooth and glossy. If not pop into the microwave for a few more seconds.
Once the bars have cooled, drizzle the chocolate sauce on top and cut it into 10 long bars or 16 smaller bars. Let it cool in pan. Store in airtight container for up to a week or in regrigerator longer.