Heart-Healthy Granola Hearts: A Treat for Your Valentine
Are you still on detox from your holiday eating and parties or are you ready to gear up for the next round of treats at Valentine’s Day? With these tasty and nutritious granola hearts, you can do both – eat healthy and enjoy a treat for you and your own special Valentine!
I first started making homemade granola bars after my daughter was diagnosed with a peanut allergy. I discovered the only packaged granola bars I could find were processed in facilities that use peanuts and were therefore unsafe for my little one, except for one organic brand, which was not well received by my pocketbook. Reviewing labels for peanuts also brought to my attention the other unidentified ingredients floating around in some of those bars.
My quest for peanut-free, inexpensive, nutritious granola snacks ended in my own kitchen, where I make my own granola regularly for my children and have never looked back. For this batch, I used a heart shaped cookie cutter to give them a festive touch for the upcoming Valentine’s Day.
With the following recipe you can make your own granola bars (or hearts or any shape!) and even modify it to fit your tastes. The great part of making your own bars is the limitless flavor combinations you can create. Throw in a variety of chopped or dried fruits, such as apples, apricots, prunes, cherries, cranberries, or banana. Mix in nuts or nut butters. (Sunbutter is our favorite peanut free choice). Add fun treats like chocolate or other chips, marshmallows, or your own secret ingredient. Let’s get started!
2 cups oats
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup wheat germ
¼ cup ground flaxseed
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat flour
¾ tsp salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup dried cherries, unsweetened
½ cup honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl (oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, flaxseed, cinnamon, flour, salt, chocolate chips, cherries)
3. Create a well in the dry ingredients and add egg, applesauce or oil, honey, and vanilla.
4. Use your hands to mix well.
5. If making bars, press into a pan to desired thickness. If making shapes, form mix into a cookie cutter on parchment paper lined baking sheet.
6. Cooking time will vary based on thickness/size of shape you make. Keep an eye on the bars and remove before overbaking because the dried fruit can burn. I baked the small hearts for 10-12 minutes and the “loose” granola for 10 minutes.
7. Eat and enjoy!
The uses for these granola treats are endless. Take them to MOPS for the moms to enjoy or a playgroup for a healthy shared snack with the little ones, or just satisfy your sweet tooth with a more nutritious delight.
After making the hearts, I reserved some of the precooked mix to spread loosely on a parchment-lined baking sheet to make granola which can be eaten plain, on yogurt, with milk, or as a crunchy topping mix-in for pudding (for eating, not painting!). After it cools, pour some in a mason jar, add a lovely fabric under the rim of the lid, and you have a quick and thoughtful Valentine’s gift. If you’ve ever visited A Humble Creation before, you know I have a fondness for mason jars and fabric! For this mason jar, I used a stick on heart stencil and red Martha Stewart paint to add the sweet little Valentine’s touch.
I hope you will enjoy preparing, gifting, and eating this nutritious treat. Remember this Valentine’s Day, homemade granola is a perfect way to take care of those hearts in the special people you Heart all year long.
Happy Creating from A Humble Creation and thanks to Katie for letting me spend time with all of you today on The Copper Coconut!
**Mmmm, this looks soo good! I can't wait to try my own little blend of it!