These are not exactly low calorie options, but they are tasty whole grain treats. I was looking for a good banana bread recipe using whole wheat flour, and I came across a recipe for Crackly Banana Bread from Smitten Kitchen. This is seriously the best banana bread I have ever had in my life. I use the lower amount of maple syrup she suggests, and it is plenty sweet. Other than that, I follow her recipe exactly. So good. I never knew about millet (except in bird seed) until I made this recipe, but it was amazing the wonderful crackly crunchy texture it gave to the bread. I found millet in the bulk food area of Whole Foods.
As I’ve mentioned before, I am trying to eliminate as many processed foods as possible from our family’s diet. My kids really like chocolate chip granola bars as a snack at school, and there are quite a lot of ingredients in even the “healthy” options. I decided to try to make them myself. I searched online quite a bit, and found this recipe. I adapted it a bit to make a smaller batch, add a chocolate layer on the top (as the ones I was buying for my kids previously had), and I added millet. I figured the crunchiness it adds to the banana bread might work in the granola bars too, and it really does.
Chocolate Chip Millet Granola Bars
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 Tbsp Sucanat or brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups oats
- 1/2 cup white (or regular) whole wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup millet
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325. Melt the butter and honey together in the microwave, add the Sucanat (a more natural form of sugar) or brown sugar and vanilla, and mix together. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, flour, baking soda, salt and millet.
Why yes, that is bird seed in my bowl
Mix the butter mixture into the dry, and stir together until well mixed, and there is no dry flour remaining. Make sure that it is cool enough not to melt the chocolate, and then add about 1/2 of the chocolate chips (about 1/4 cup, maybe a little less).
Before adding chocolate chips
Spray an 8″ square baking dish with canola oil spray, or butter the dish, and add the mixture. Press down with something with a flat bottom. I use a measuring cup. Make sure it is firmly pressed everywhere, especially along all the sides and corners.
Pressing down on bars before baking
Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden. My oven is very uneven, so I bake for 10, turn it a half-turn and bake for another 10. Press down again all immediately after removing from oven.
The lucky kid gets to lick the melted chocolate off the back of the measuring cup
After pressing down, immediately scatter the rest of the chocolate chips evenly over the top of the bars. Allow to melt for about 5 minutes.
Spread the chocolate chips in an even layer over the bars. I use an offset spatula, which makes this a lot easier. You could probably use a rubber spatula or a knife.
Another lucky kid gets to lick the spatula
Let cool on the counter, then place in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Finished bars before going into the fridge
Remove from fridge and slice with a very sharp knife. You may need to wait for them to warm up a little first, and put a bit of elbow grease into cutting them. I usually cut them into 16 bars/squares. I store them at room temperature, and they have lasted just quite some time.
Bars are ready for eating!