Since my daughter was born I have found my energy ebbing and flowing back and forth to this blog. Sometimes I wonder if I should bother posting any more as I seem to have so little time for any of my own pursuits these days including building and testing my own recipes. But I am definitely still baking. Since the heat of the summer died down in October last year I have been baking a ton, rehashing old recipes and diving into recipe books that have sat forlorn on the shelf for far too long. The one I have been baking through the most recently is Tara Jensen’s Flour Power. Not only has she single handedly guided me through successfully making sourdough bread on the regular, but has helped me soften and ultimately remove the blinders I wore as I barrelled down a “spelt only, ancient grains only, wheat is the worst” road. But that is a story for another time.
These homemade chocolate chip granola bars with pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds are a variation on the ones I used to make when I worked at a local bakery (in a pre-mom, pre-Covid era). I clearly remember the first time I made them and realized that they were sweetened with corn syrup! Blech. I made a bunch of changes to that recipe (including no more corn syrup) and they still flew off the shelf every single day so I knew I had a good base to start from.
My version below is sweetened with honey, packed with healthy fats from virgin coconut oil and three different seeds and hits the spot with just the right amount of chocolate. The recipe makes a BIG batch (32 bars to be exact) but believe me they won’t last long. A smaller batch can also easily be made by cutting the recipe in half.
Recipe updated January 2, 2024: While I have not changed a single ingredient, I have found a few methods that help the bars hold together better at room temperature (mind you I usually eat these straight from the fridge!). Pulverizing the oats, some into a flour consistency, and mixing the nut butter with the rest of the wet ingredients has made these a much studier granola bar.
If you liked this recipe you are going to love these ones!
Homemade Chocolate Chip Granola Bars with Pumpkin, Sunflower and Sesame Seeds
- 1 cup virgin coconut oil
- 2 cups natural nut butter peanut butter, almond butter or a mix of both
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 6 cups quick oats or large flake oats pulverized in a food processor
- 1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar lightly packed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
If using large flake oats, pulse them in a food processor until they resemble quick oats (approximately 10 times). For both oat types, empty them into a large bowl, then return 1 cup of the oats to the food processor and turn on low until the oats are very fine and resemble flour.
In a medium sauce pan, melt the coconut oil, nut butter and honey on low heat until melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Set aside to cool.
Add the shredded coconut, seeds, chocolate chips and brown sugar to the large bowl with the oats. Stir well to combine. Drizzle the coconut oil mixture on top. Stir well with a large spoon or spatula until there are no dry patches left.
Empty the mixture onto the parchment lined baking sheet and spread evenly. Use the back of the spoon or spatula to press down very firmly. Grease a rolling pin with butter or non stick baking spray and use it to roll over the mixture, pressing down as firmly as you can without the mixture pushing over the edges of the baking sheet.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet. Place the entire pan in the freezer for 15 minutes or until bars have hardened to the touch. Once cooled, use a dough scraper or sharp knife to cut 32 equal sized bars. Remove and wrap each bar in wax paper, parchment paper or plastic wrap. Place in air tight containers or airtight bags and store in the fridge.