Homemade Chewy Granola Bars with Hazelnuts & Chocolate

When it comes to granola bars, I am firmly in the chewy camp. I like them a little sticky and soft and packed with all sorts of sweet and good things.

These homemade chewy Granola bars came after multiple attempts to get the right texture. The first time I made them, I didn't put in enough honey and baked them too long, and they came out crisp. Eugene loved them. I mean he really loved them, but they were all wrong for what I wanted.

So I tried again with a recipe that just tasted weird. That batch sat on a tray on our dining table, completely ignored for about a week until I finally just had to throw them away. It hurt, but the challenge continued.

A third batch didn't stick together at all and I ended up with lovely granola clusters instead of a bar.

It wasn't until the fourth batch that I got what I wanted. Chewy and packed with awesome. What I love about these is the combination of hazelnuts and chocolate. Not too much chocolate, just a few chips per bar when you cut them, but just enough to pair with the hazelnut for a very subtle gianduja flavor (aka nutella). I added several kinds of nuts, seeds (including chia seeds--so good!) and a little bit of dried fruits. They remind me a little bit of KIND bars (another favorite around here), but a bit heartier.

I've been snacking on these nonstop, and Eugene was a fan, too, so I think we have a family winner.

For now, at least...

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Homemade Chewy Granola Bars with Hazelnuts & Chocolate

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1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 1/2 cups blanched hazelnuts
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup pepitas
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
1/2 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1 cup honey
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons coconut oil (or olive oil)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl (I use my electric mixer on the "stir" setting) combine the almonds, hazelnuts, oats, pepitas, chia seeds,  cranberries,  chocolate chips, and flax seeds. Stir until evenly distributed. Add the honey, almond extract, and coconut oil. Stir until all the dry ingredients are evenly coated.

Line a small baking sheet or rectangular baking pan with overhanging parchment paper. Spread the bar mixture and use your hands to press it down tightly and flat.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the edges are slightly toasted. Remove from the oven and run a knife along all the sides to loosen. Let cool completely at room temperature, then unmold and cut into bars or squares. Wrap individually and store in an air-tight container or zipped bag in the fridge. Will keep well for at least one month. 

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