Dark Chocolate Chunk Quinoa Granola Bars
1 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup quinoa, uncooked
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut (mine was sweetened)
½ cup toasted wheat germ
3 tablespoons coconut oil, measured out while hard (at room temperature)
⅔ cup honey (some vegans will eat honey, others won't, so keep that in mind!)
¼ cup dark brown sugar, packed
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped pitted dates (I like smaller fruit chunks, so I chopped these pretty finely)
¼ cup dried cherry craisins
½ cup dark chocolate chips (if vegan, make sure you're purchasing vegan chocolate chips)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 x 12 in glassbaking dish (or a similar size) and line it with parchment paper.
Combine the oats, quinoa, almonds, and coconut together on an unlined baking pan and bake for 12 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring every 4 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.
Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
Place the oil, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Bring to a boil (the mixture will start foaming) Once boiling, cook for 60 seconds, stirring constantly.
Pour the syrup over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates and craisins and stir well.
Stir in the dark chocolate chunks, because the mixture is so warm, you will find some of the chocolate melting.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and gently, but firmly press the mixture evenly into the pan using your fingers. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the granola is a light golden brown color.
Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before removing from the pan and cutting into squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature!
**Make sure that your oats are certified gluten free.
** These do contain honey, I've seen some vegans eat honey, others don't, so keep that in mind! :) I haven't tried to sub the honey with agave, but if you do, please let me know the results!