Caramnel Coconutty Granola Bars
Sometimes you just have to get outside and go camp under the stars. There is nothing like being outside that will clear your mind and temporarily cure you from any technology addictions. (You are off of the grid after all). Truth be told, in addition to “going off of the grid,” I just like the camping food and all of the goodies you can make outdoors. My first thought upon booking a camping trip is, “what can I make?”
These granola bars were the perfect treat for a yummy road snack as well as a dessert after a long day of hiking and climbing out in the sun. The are super easy to make if you purchase a store bought caramel and can be easily adjusted to nuts you prefer (pistachios and pecans instead of walnuts, etc). Make them the night before, freeze, the cut and dup and voila!
Caramel Coconutty Granola Bars
1 batch caramel
1 can full-fat coconut milk (about 1½ cups), I used guar gum-free Natural Value
½ cup mild flavored honey or maple syrup,
pinch of sea salt
1 rounded tablespoon ghee or butter (can sub palm shortening or coconut oil)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
(or store bought caramel)
For the Granola bars
1 cup unsalted almonds
1 cup chopped walnuts
½ cup shelled pistachios
½ cup coconut flakes
½ cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 cup chocolate chips, melted
For homemade caramel (or you can save time and use store-bought): In a small-medium heavy bottomed sauce pan, bring the coconut milk, honey and salt to a boil over medium high heat, being sure that they are well combined. Reduce to a medium heat, and let the mixture boil down for about 35-40 minutes.
Add the ghee and vanilla, stirring it in till well incorporated. Continue cooking for another 5-15 minutes or as long as needed until it is a deep caramel color. Stir often toward the end to keep the bottom from burning too much. A little burning is fine as long as you are stirring it in to the mixture. It will give it a darker flavor.
Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and let cool for 5 minutes then stir vigorously until it’s creamy, shinny and smooth.
Mix all of the nuts, chia and dried cranberries in a large bowl. Loosely chop the coconut and mix in. Mix with a rubber spatula with ½ cup of caramel sauce.
Press into a 9x9 pyrex lined with parchment paper and freeze for 3+ hours (or overnight).
Melt chocolate. Cut into bars or squares and dip into chocolate. Immediately place back in the fridge or freezer on parchment paper for 10-15 mins or until set.