Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars are an easy no-bake afternoon snack or lunch box addition. Plus, they last nearly a month in the fridge and even longer in the freezer, so make a batch today and be set for awhile if you can restrain yourself. :)

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars | thepajamachef.com

I am so excited about these chewy granola bars, you guys! They are simply the best. I’ve shared other granola bar recipes on my blog before, but these take the cake. Literally. I think I’d have one before I had a piece of cake, if only because they are healthy AND chocolately at the same time. Win win, I say!

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars | thepajamachef.com

In the past, homemade chewy granola bars just haven’t cut it for me because they’ve included ingredients I want to avoid on a normal basis [corn syrup] or because they’ve been so full of liquid sweeteners like honey or maple syrup that they’ve just been sticky and hard to eat on the go. So one day I was thinking about what could make chewy granola bars better [I'm in the car alot... this is what I do when I'm not paying attention to my book on CD--ha!] and it dawned on me. Coconut oil! Duh. Everyone’s favorite trendy all-purpose health/beauty/cooking product of choice these days.  So I gave it a whirl and was SO pleased with the results. These granola bars hold together well, are easy to cut, and just taste amazing. For those who are curious… they don’t really taste much like coconut, for better or worse–it’s just a hint, and it’s almost more the smell than anything.

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars | thepajamachef.com

When you make them–note that I said “when,” not “if”–be sure to follow the instructions to a T in regard to boiling the honey, brown sugar, and salt. It’s similar to making candy in that you need the mixture to come to a boil so that it gets to the soft ball stage to set. Then you just mix everything up, add your mix-ins, and spread it in the pan. Simple! For this batch, my mix-ins were chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate chunks. There’s just something about dark chocolate chunks that makes everything better, righttt?! It practically goes without saying, but you can obviously use whatever dried fruit or nuts or chocolate suits your fancy. I think I might make a batch this weekend and have some white chocolate chips burning a hole in my pantry! :)

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars | thepajamachef.com

When you take these yummy chewy granola bars to work or your kids take them to school, I guarantee that they’ll be the talk of the lunchroom. They look pretty similar to the storebought kind, but just have a homemade appeal that will make people super jealous. Ben’s even shared some with his colleagues to spread the love… the granola bar love, that is! Enjoy, friends! Happy Friday! :)

one year ago: Oreo Popcorn
two years ago: Cilantro Lime Hummus
three years ago: Tangy Chicken Pasta

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars

  • Servings: 24
  • Time: 2hr 15mins
  • Print

[adapted slightly from Money Saving Mom]
Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars | thepajamachef.com

  • 2 1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed [or wheat germ, wheat bran, or more rolled oats]
  • 1/2 cup mix-ins of your choice [I used 1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts--you can use dried fruit, nuts, coconut, etc.]
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks

Directions:

Line a 9×13 pan with aluminum foil or wax paper, and grease well with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together cereal, oats, flaxseed, and mix-ins. In a saucepan, stir together honey, brown sugar, and salt. Turn heat onto medium-low, then stir constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 60 seconds, then remove from heat and gently mix in coconut oil and peanut butter [be careful of splashes!]. Stir in vanilla and cinnamon. Pour wet ingredients over the dry and mix to combine.

Press mixture into prepared pan, then evenly distribute chocolate chunks over top. If you mix the chocolate in, it will melt. Press into granola mixture with a spatula then cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to set. Cut into bars and wrap in aluminum foil or wax paper for easy transport. Granola bars freeze well and stay fresh in the refrigerator.

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.

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Mango Coconut Muffins

I love fruit. Love, love, love it. Crisp apples, slightly underripe bananas, juicy peaches, sweet blueberries… I could go on and on. I love them all. Nine times out of ten I’d choose fruit over chocolate–whether on its own or in a dessert. But when you add chocolate to fruit…? Oh man. I’m in heaven. Heaven! Like these muffins, a basic coconut batter filled with juicy chunks of tropical mango, coconut flakes, and white chocolate chips.

Mango Coconut Muffins | thepajamachef.com

These muffins are my dream come true!

You can make these muffins with the regular variety you buy in the grocery store but my favorite kind of mango is the Ataulfo mango, also known as the honey or champagne mango. They are rich and sweet, and in my opinion… easier to cut. They have an intensely sweet flavor, with some peppery or minty notes.

Mango Coconut Muffins | thepajamachef.com

They’re soft and fluffy, perfect for any occasion from book club [that's what I made them for!] to lunchboxes. Ben’s been taking them in his lunch and people have been asking him what in the world is in that glorious muffin that smells SO SO good. I mean, who can resist these tropical treats, especially during a long day? I know I can’t! And you won’t be able to either! :)

Mango Coconut Muffins | thepajamachef.com

Mango Coconut Muffins [adapted from Following in My Shoes]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted + cooled
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon coconut emulsion/extract [or vanilla extract]
  • 1 cup fresh diced mango
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup dried coconut, divided

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners or grease well.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl stir together buttermilk, milk, coconut oil, egg, and coconut emulsion. Fold wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, then gently fold in mango, white chocolate chips, and half [2 tablespoons] of the dried coconut.

Divide batter evenly between prepared muffin tins and then top with remaining coconut.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days and then freeze leftovers.

Time: 30 minutes.
Yield: 16 muffins.

Blueberry Multigrain French Toast Bake + Mother’s Day Brunch Ideas

So, I used to post once a month on a blog called Today’s Housewife. During fall 2012, the group decided together to stop posting due the busyness of life and families and such. Though sad, I enjoyed being part of the group. As of early January, the blog was officially taken down. But I don’t want to lose my recipes, so periodically I will be reposting them on here. Enjoy!

~

from May 10, 2012…

This Sunday, May 12th is Mother’s Day, in case you were unaware. I’m guessing most of you are not, but just in case I thought I’d remind you. :) I hope and pray that this Mother’s Day is special for all of you, as you celebrate moms, families, and special women in your lives. One way that we like to celebrate is with food! So what better way to celebrate than with an arsenal of tried and true brunch ideas?

If you’re looking for some new pastries and muffins, be sure to consider these:

Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Icing | thepajamachef.com

royal berry coffee cake | thepajamachef.com

cinnamon carrot muffins | thepajamachef.com

Cinnamon Carrot Muffins

Sunrise Muffins | thepajamachef.comSunrise Muffins

Perhaps you need a side…

Brown Sugar Bacon Twists | thepajamachef.com

Brown Sugar Bacon Twists
Honey Lime Fruit Salad | thepajamachef.com

Or do you need a main dish?
Sausage, Apple, and Egg Casserole | thepajamachef.com
Sausage, Apple, and Egg Casserole
Blueberry Multigrain French Toast Bake | thepajamachef.com
Although I would love to dine on any of those tried and true dishes that are straight from my kitchen, I must share with you one last gem: Blueberry Multigrain French Toast Bake! I made this breakfast bake when we had family in town last week and it was a huge hit.

Blueberry Multigrain French Toast Bake | thepajamachef.com

I love French Toast Bakes because they’re all the great taste of the classic breakfast dish, but with a small fraction of the work [not that you moms should be working in the kitchen on Sunday anyway though!]. My version has some healthy ingredients like hearty multigrain bread and plump blueberries, and is flavored with fragarent cinnamon for that authentic French Toast taste. Plus, as an added benefit, you make it the night before so it takes next to no work when brunch time rolls around! Hope you enjoy, and Happy Mother’s Day!

Blueberry Multigrain French Toast Bake [adapted from Ours to Yours]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound day-old multigrain French bread, cubed
  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ cup  sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries

Directions:

Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray, then spread bread cubes in pan.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs then stir in milk, vanilla, flour, sugar, and cinnamon until mixture is smooth. Add half of the blueberries then pour mixture evenly over bread.

Top with remaining blueberries.

Cover and refrigerate overnight [or at least 1 hour, but no more than 24].

When ready to bake, remove from refrigerator, uncover, and place in cold oven. Then turn oven to 400 and bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and set on top. Let stand 10 minutes before serving with additional berries, syrup, or powdered sugar as desired.

Time: 15 minutes active + 35 minutes baking + time to refrigerate

Yield: 8-10 servings.

Notes: If oven is preheated, just let sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before baking.

SRC: Chocolate Baked Oatmeal

Hi friends! It’s another SRC day. Every month I am always SHOCKED at how quickly it’s SRC time again. It means time is passing quickly… both for blog stuff and real life stuff. My first full semester working as a librarian has already come to an end, and we’ve been living in Nashville over 7 months now! Crazy stuff. But you know what isn’t crazy? How wonderful my Secret Recipe Club assignment for May was. [Betcha didn't see that transition coming, now did ya? :)]

Chocolate Baked Oatmeal | thepajamachef.com

This month I was assigned to Food Ramblings, written by the lovely Elizabeth. She has tons of recipes on her blog, ranging from the indulgent to the uber healthy. My kinda girl! That’s exactly  how I cook, so I had SUCH a hard time deciding what to make. As I was browsing through her archives basically everything sounded good to me. Maybe I was just hungry. :) First, I really wanted to make this polenta with roasted tomatoes and spinach, I decided to wait until the summer for that–I’m sure it’ll be unbelievably delicious with fresh farmer’s market tomatoes. Then, I thought about making cheese and broccoli quinoa casserole, and finally landed on Chocolate Baked Oatmeal. It was only when I was writing this post that I realized it fell on Cinco de Mayo and I should have made something Mexican. Oh well, it was delicious. Though the baked oatmeal tasted rich and fudgy, it’s actually a pretty healthy breakfast. Well, as far as having chocolate for breakfast can be considered healthy. :)

Chocolate Baked Oatmeal | thepajamachef.com

Elizabeth’s original recipe called for making this baked oatmeal in muffin cups, which is SUCH a good idea. So why didn’t I do that? Ben. I asked his opinion and he thought it would be easier to just make a big pan of it. So that’s what I did. I also was nearly out of regular size muffin liners, and I never have luck greasing my muffin tin. She also used strawberries and peanut butter chips in her baked oatmeal, neither of which I had. So I used bananas and cinnamon chips and OH MY GOODNESS was that an awesome combination. I usually am not a banana oatmeal kinda girl but you can’t even taste it in this, especially if you mash up the banana really well. The cinnamon chips just add SO much flavor and little bursts of sweet cinnamon goodness. Later in the summer you can bet I’ll try that chocolate, strawberry, and peanut butter combination though… it sounds incredible, like a jacked up peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Chocolate Baked Oatmeal | thepajamachef.com

Before this, I was a newbie to chocolate baked oatmeal–usually I just make this plain version from my summer camp counselor days, and add my own toppings, but from now on I will be tempted to make this delightful chocolate version. Hope you enjoy as much as we did, and be sure to check out Elizabeth’s blog for more yummy recipes!

one year ago: Club Soda Waffles
two years ago: Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette
three years ago: Salsas for Cinco de Mayo

Chocolate Baked Oatmeal [adapted from Food Ramblings]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup milk [I used skim]
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 medium bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon chips, divided

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 inch pie pan with cooking spray, or line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl, stir together oats, flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, egg, bananas, and maple syrup. Fold wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, then stir in half of the cinnamon chips. Transfer batter to prepared pan and top with remaining cinnamon chips.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. [If baking in a muffin tin, bake for 20-25 minutes]. Serve warm, adding milk or yogurt if desired.

Time: 45 minutes.
Yield: 6 servings.

 

Please check out all the other fabulous recipes from my SRC pals here:

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.

Mystery Dish: Tropical Kiwi Fruit Muffins

Happy Mystery Dish Friday! Today I have some AMAZING muffins to share with you. They are seriously some of the coolest muffins I have ever made [and from this muffin addicted girl, that's saying a lot]. But how can you not agree?! They have KIWI on top. So fun, so tropical, so green. Spring, please come soon!

Tropical Kiwi Fruit Muffins | thepajamachef.com

This month for Mystery Dish, Kat from I Want Crazy was in charge. When our original founder, Dani, who has since left blogging due to family, was trying to organize the group, I suggested she ask Kat to join. I knew Kat from church [we were still living in Indiana then] and she had recently started blogging. She joined and the rest is history… errr, the rest being that this month she chose our fun ingredients [including the aforementioned kiwi] to be: boxed cake mix, Peeps, oats, ginger, honey, wine, shallots, coconut, shrimp, cherry tomatoes, kiwi, dried fruit, and cinnamon. Some of those ingredients I looove [COCONUT] and others I hate [Peeps. With a passion.] so the choice was pretty simple.

Tropical Kiwi Fruit Muffins | thepajamachef.comI pinned these Tropical Kiwi Fruit Muffins months and months ago, and now I finally had an excuse to make them. They are a tropical delight! Basically, you make a soft coconut muffin and top it with a slice of kiwi fruit and a smattering of coconut flakes. The coconut on top gets all golden and toasty, though in an ideal world I’d like it to be toastier [but didn't want to toughen up the muffins]. I added a touch of ginger to the muffin batter, both to satisfy Kat’s request for us to use three ingredients AND because I just thought it sounded wonderful. And they turned out wonderful, if I do say so myself. Lime, ginger, and coconut go so well together in these fun muffins, and the kiwi is the cherry on top. :) A bit o’ color and flavor if you will. These muffins were perfect for a rainy/snowy week. Hope you enjoy, and that you check out some of the other recipes this month for Mystery Dish!

Tropical Kiwi Fruit Muffins | thepajamachef.comone year ago: Sweet & Sour Chicken
two years ago: Turkey, Spinach, & Kale Stuffed Shells
three years ago: Baked Potato Skins

Tropical Kiwi Fruit Muffins [slightly adapted from Clever Muffin]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • zest of one large lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • scant 1/2 cup coconut oil [90 grams]
  • 1 cup buttermilk [quick shortcut=1 tablespoon vinegar + enough milk to make 1 cup; let sit for about 5 minutes to thicken]
  • 1 egg
  • 3 kiwi fruit, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons shredded coconut

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare muffin tin with paper liners or coat with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, shredded coconut, lime zest, and ground ginger. Make a well in the center.

In a separate bowl, whisk together coconut oil, buttermilk, and egg. Pour into the well then stir until just combined.

Spoon into prepared muffin tin, then top with a slice of kiwi and some shredded coconut.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Eat or freeze within three days.

Time: 30 minutes.
Yield: 12-16 muffins.

Mystery Dish March Collage | thepajamachef.com1. Coconut Shrimp with Thai Chili Ginger Sauce by Joyful Healthy Eats
2. Sangria Poached Pears by Baking a Moment
3. Baked Mini Carrot Cake Donuts by Culinary Couture Blog
4. Funfetti Cookies with Peeps Marshmallow Frosting by I Dig Pinterest
5. Carrot Oatmeal Cookies by Yummy Healthy Easy
6. Gooey Oatmeal Cranberry Bars by I Want Crazy
7. Honey Lime Coconut Oatmeal Cookies by Blahnik Baker
8. Chocolate Almond Date Balls by The Well Floured Kitchen
9. Tropical Kiwi Fruit Muffins by The Pajama Chef
10. Nesting Peeps Cupcakes by The Dessert Chronicles
11. Carrot Cake Cookies by Chez CateyLou