Christmas is a time where there is an abundance of chocolate temptations and sweet treats everywhere we look. And of course, Christmas is a time that should be enjoyed without denying ourselves that extra After Eight mint, or lucky-dip from the Roses tin. However, if we can get our chocolate fix without overdosing on cheap sugar then our bodies will thank us for it in the long-run. So, why not prepare yourself a batch of easy to make Betty’s gluten-free dark chocolate granola bars to enjoy with the family over the festive period, and you won’t need to worry about burning too many Christmas-calories come January…
The great thing about make-your-own granola bars is that you can add anything you like! You don’t need to stick to my exact recipe, but help yourself to the ideas:
- Nairn’s gluten-free porridge oats
- pumpkin seeds
- mixed nuts
- mixed dried fruit
- agave nectar
- almond butter
- Green & Blacks organic 70% dark chocolate
Add all the ingredients into a pan, you can taste and add more to your mix as you go along.
Gently heat the pan and stir continuously. If the mixture needs more ‘stick’ then add more almond butter/dark chocolate/agave nectar until you are happy with the consistency. Course, tasting as you go is absolutely necessary.
Why dark chocolate? Did you know, dark chocolate is actually loaded with health benefits. The higher the percentage the better it is due to the pure cocoa content and reduced sugar. Dark chocolate is said to lower blood pressure whilst keeping blood sugar levels stable thanks to its low glycemic index – meaning you will not get the blood sugar rise and crash typical with milk chocolate. It’s full of antioxidants that fight cancers and reduce the signs of aging. It even has vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper and potassium. And the best bit is dark chocolate can actually make you feel happier due to the phenylethylamine content which encourages your brain to release endorphins. So, go on, be generous with stirring in that dark chocolate!
The heating and mixing process does not take very long at all, and when you feel it is ready, pack down the granola tightly into a tray to set. For quick-setting (you really really want to eat them soon) pop them into the freezer for a while or if you can wait – leave them in the fridge for a few hours.
Behold… the giant granola slab. Avoid temptation to just take a big bite out of it, and instead use a knife to cut into squares, rectangles, bar shapes, …or if your like me and left it in the freezer for too long, I shattered mine into randomly shaped granola shards. Regardless of shape, these make perfect little healthy snacks when the Christmas chocolates are calling your name…