Monday, September 23, 2013

No-Bake Granola Bites

I saw these on Mel's Kitchen Cafe last week and made them a few days later.  They looked so easy, and a lot of the reviewers really liked them.  My first attempt is the one I took pics of.  Everyone loved them, but I thought they were too sweet, so the next time I made them, I reduced the honey/agave.  They were just right, sweetness-wise, but as I suspected, were a little harder to form into balls that actually stuck together.  I had to squeeze them together in my hands firmly, and they worked that way.  Actually, a note on the original way:  I had a hard time forming these into balls right after mixing them up.  I stuck the mixture in the fridge for a little over an hour and tried again; much better!

So, first I'd make these with the original amount of honey/agave and see how that works for you; if you find it too sweet, try reducing to 1/2 cup (from 2/3 cup) the next time.  I also reduced the chocolate chips down to 1/2 cup.  Next time I make them, I might try adding an extra tablespoon of peanut butter to help them stick (I use unsweetened pb).  Just be sure to squeeze the mixture together more to form balls.  Having clean hands helps too; I had to wash mine when I was about half-way through forming them.  
My boys LOVE these!!  The first batch I made was gone in 24 hours.  They take two bites to school with them for a snack; I send it in a tiny glad-ware type thing, with a fork, because these get a little sticky un-refrigerated.  They fill them up much more than your typical store-bought granola bar.  They also want to eat them at home.  They keep very well in a covered container in the freezer; just take out and eat as needed.

This is one of the only recipes in the world I use quick oats for.  I had to actually buy them specially, for this recipe.  Mel states that old-fashioned oats won't work because the mixture won't hold together.  If you only have whole oats and don't want to buy quick, you can blend whole oats in the food processor until they are broken down a little bit.  
Last time I made these, I used mini M&M's in place of mini choco chips and chocolate peanut butter.  My fave version!
No-Bake Granola Bites
adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

2 cups quick oats
1 cup crispy rice cereal (like Rice Krispies)
1 cup ground flaxseed
1 cup creamy peanut butter (or chocolate pb or sunflower butter)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, mini M&M's, or choc-covered sunflower seeds
2/3 cup honey and/or agave nectar (can use 1/2 cup + 1 TBS*, but may be harder to form balls)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons coconut oil

1.  Combine the oats, flaxseed, and Rick Krispies together in a large bowl, carefully.  In another smaller bowl, combine the peanut butter, chocolate chips, honey and/or agave (I used a mix of both), vanilla, and coconut oil.  Mix the peanut butter mixture into the dry mixture carefully, mixing gently so the crispy rice cereal doesn't get crushed. Mix until well-combined.  At this point, I like to refrigerate the mixture for about an hour before forming balls, so it firms up a little.  

2.  Using a cookie scoop (or roll small amounts in your hands), drop rounded tablespoonful-sized portions onto a parchment or wax paper lined cooking sheeet. I used my cookie scoop and then rolled the scooped portion out between my palms.  Make sure you gently press them to stick together.

3.  Refrigerate for 1-2 hours. At this point you can serve them or combine the chilled granola bites in a large tupperware-type container or ziploc bags to freeze or refrigerate. They will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to a week or for a few months in the freezer. 

*If using less honey or agave, try using 1/2 cup PLUS 1 Tablespoon.  I made them this way last time, and it really made a difference.  They stuck together much better and the sweetness level was just right.
**Make sure the oats you use are gluten free if making this gluten-free.
**This post and photos are property of **

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