But there’s one problem: Granola bars are really pretty bad for you.
In spite of their reputation as a health food, most granola bars contain more artificial ingredients and preservatives than they do real food. In fact, some nutritionists actually consider granola bars one of the worst snacks parents can give their children because they generally contain very few natural ingredients, and the fact they are perceived as “healthy” leads many moms and dads to let their kids eat far more of them than they might otherwise.
Bad, BAD idea, moms. And don’t be fooled by all-natural or organic labeling either. I’ve been disappointed to learn that many of the pricey nutrition and protein bars sold in the natural foods section are only slightly better for you, if at all.
But what about granola cookies? I found this recipe in an old magazine, did a little tweaking to suit my fancy, and oh my goodness did they ever turn out good! Soft, chewy, DELICIOUS cookies that put to shame every granola bar I’ve ever tasted. Even my picky, if-it-doesn’t-look-right-I-won’t-eat-it child loves these.
Now the ingredient list is a little lengthy, but these cookies aren’t hard to make at all. At the end I’ll give you some ideas for different flavor variations.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup + 3 T. honey
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (all-purpose white works, too!)
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked regular oats
- 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup no-shell sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Melt butter and allow to cool to lukewarm temperature. Whisk together melted butter, honey, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl.
- In a separate mixing bowl, mix together all remaining ingredients.
- Add flour mixture to butter mixture, about 1/3 of the mixture at a time, until well-combined, being careful not to overmix. (Overmixing will result in heavy, dense cookies.)
- Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. Bake 10 minutes, or until very lightly browned at the edges.
- Cool cookies on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
- Substitute white chocolate for the milk chocolate chips, and macadamia nuts for the pecans
- Also substitute peanuts, walnuts, cashews, or almonds for the pecans
- Substitute pine nuts, or flax, pumpkin, or chia seeds for sunflower seeds
- Substitute raisins or dried blueberries, or chopped dried apricots or pineapples for dried cranberries
You can freeze the dough for up to 3 months, or freeze already-baked cookies in freezer bags for about a month. These cookies make a great quick breakfast or an easy, protein-packed snack. The original recipe above produces 4 to 5 dozen cookies that are about 70-80 calories each, which isn’t bad compared to most granola bars, and they are very filling. Plus I know they’re full of real foods and not a lot of preservatives and fillers I can’t pronounce.
So what do you say to a cookie for breakfast?? Around here, we say, “Yes, please!”