Goji Berry Granola Bars

15 May


IMG_7693The other day while I was wandering around the charming Orticola Flower Market in Milan I picked up a bag of Goji berries at an organic fruit tree stand.  I think we’ve all heard, over and over again over the past years, how healthy and beneficial these berries are for our health.  To tell you the truth I was actually avoiding them due to all the hype (and the fact that I read you’d have to eat a truck full to reap any sort of special health benefits from them).

In any case, I was hungry and the berries were there at the right time and place.  I have to admit that when I tried them I was pretty disappointed with the fact that they are….tasteless.  Seriously, I think cardboard has more flavour than those goji berries.  I was expecting something sweeter and with a rich flavour (especially since the berries have such a beautiful dark brick orange-y red colour).

So yesterday when I was looking for something to bake for the kids I decided to try and use up some of the berries (in order to make them a bit more edible than straight out of the bag).

Since they were quite dry I decided to soak them in a little bowl of apple juice for about 10 minutes before using them.  And the berries actually came to life.  They became soft and plump and the apple juice brought out a distinctive  flavour that I didn’t taste before.  It’s possible I ruined all the health properties of the berries by soaking them but it was worth it.

IMG_7683Read on for the recipe…

After doing a little research online I mixed and matched a few recipes and came up with this one.  The result is really tasty, not too sweet and a perfect way to start your day. There is no added sugar (only honey) and the coconut oil makes it that much healthier (and chewy). Recipes don’t get much easier than this and it literally takes minutes to prepare.  The ultimate guilt-free sweet.

Goji Berry Granola Bars

2 cups of oats
1 cup of coconut (flakes or ground)
1/2 cup ground almonds (or hazelnuts if you prefer)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 – 3/4 cup honey (depending how much sweet you like it)
1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips (or more!)
1/2 cup goji berries (soaked)

*Optional additions include ground almonds, wheat germ (1/4 cup) other dried fruits or nuts

1. Combine all ingredients into a large bowl (in order of recipe list).  Press into greased cookie sheet (you can decide the thickness that you like).

2. Bake for about 15-20 minutes in a 350 (180) degree oven.

3. Let cool slightly then cut into squares.

Enjoy!

IMG_7680

 

 

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10 Responses to “Goji Berry Granola Bars”

  1. lessthanperfectmama May 15, 2014 at 14:39 #

    These sound delicious and healthy. Thank you! And yes, I agree when it comes to overhyped foods. I’m like…Ok, goji berries, I’m sure you’re healthy but I’m over here eating my broccoli.

    • Jillian In Italy May 16, 2014 at 13:00 #

      I have a hard time keeping up with the “miracle food” of the day (week or year). I just tend to eat varied, healthy and homemade and I’m pretty healthy!

  2. scarletscorchdroppers May 15, 2014 at 14:46 #

    I love the way you’ve wrapped and presented these – so pretty!

    • Jillian In Italy May 16, 2014 at 13:02 #

      Goji berries may claim to be the miracle food but washi IS the miracle craft supply. So good for so many things!

  3. Sewing Princess May 15, 2014 at 15:00 #

    Jillian, were do you find coconut oil in Italy? I find this recipe very tempting especially because you use ingredients I can pretty much find.

    • Jillian In Italy May 16, 2014 at 13:03 #

      I actually found it in a little grocery shop in Chinatown in Milan. But I think any health food store should carry it. Let me know how they turn out if you give them a try…

  4. Chasing Hygge May 18, 2014 at 22:23 #

    I am definitely going to give this a try, I have never tried goji berries yet for the exact same reason as you. Lovely packaging by the way 🙂

    • Jillian In Italy May 20, 2014 at 08:16 #

      Ha! Good to hear that there are other anti-food-hype people out there. Hope you like them!

  5. Jane Campbell January 9, 2015 at 06:18 #

    Hi Jillian! I made these today and found that, while the flavours were great, it was too crumbly and didn’t form nice squares for me. I am going to add an egg next time! Cheers from Jane in Australia!

    • Jillian In Italy January 9, 2015 at 07:54 #

      Hi Jane. Sorry to hear they were crumbly! I think if you upped the amount of coconut oil and/or honey it would stick together a bit better. I’m not too sure about adding an egg to granola bars. I’ve never heard of that before. I don’t know how long you could keep them with raw egg as an ingredient. Hope they work out! Jillian

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