Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

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Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
  • 8 to 12 bars ServingsServings

Ingredients

  • 2 cup old fashioned rolled oats, lightly pulsed
  • 1 cup crisp rice cereal
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoon non-dairy margarine
  • ⅓ cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking pan.
  2. Place oats in a food processor, and pulse them just briefly to break them down a bit; three 1-second pulses should do the trick. Transfer oats to a large bowl along with rice cereal, flour, and chocolate chips. Stir to combine.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together margarine, brown sugar, and salt until smooth. Add maple syrup and vanilla. Mix to incorporate, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
  4. Add all dry ingredients into the stand mixer, and stir just until everything comes together into a well-distributed and moist mixture. Pour into your prepared pan, and firmly and evenly pack it down into the bottom.*
  5. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until golden brown.
  6. Cool completely before cutting into bars.


*Quick Tip: To quickly and easily pack the granola bar mixture into the pan, lightly grease the bottom of a measuring cup. Use it to smooth and press the mixture firmly into place.

Variations
Pumpkin-Spice: Swap out chocolate chips for an equal measure of shelled and toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas), and add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves.

Peanut Butter Cup: Reduce margarine to 2 tablespoons, and add 1/3 cup well-stirred smooth or crunchy peanut
butter. Drizzle an additional 1/4 cup melted chocolate on top once the bars are baked and cooled, if desired.

Caramel Apple: Increase brown sugar to 1/2 cup, use an equal amount of brown rice syrup instead of maple syrup, and swap out chocolate chips for the same amount chopped dried apple pieces. Finally, add a small pinch ground cinnamon.