Monday, March 4, 2013

Healthy Sunflower-Hemp Seed Granola Bites - A Great Afternoon Snack for Mamma (gluten free, dairy free, cane-sugar free)

One of my favorite sweet recipes on my blog is the SCD "caramel" sauce.  It has a wonderful deep flavor, so creamy and (in my opinion) very rich.  I use this sauce as the base in my SCD "granola" bars.  The sauce works great, as it really holds everything together quite nicely.  I figured this sauce would also work great with oats, and it sure did.  Last month I made Shirley's granola cookie bites.  She inspired me with these little morsels. I like how she made bites instead of bars.  Bars can be hard to form sometimes and often don't stay together.  And it all tastes the same, so why not make it easy.  So I gathered some of my favorite dry ingredients and added it to the caramel sauce and voila, healthy little granola bites were born.  My husband is addicted to these.  My kids love them too.  They are almost too sweet for me, but I have a very low tolerance to sweet, so I prefer these with cranberries instead of chocolate chips.  These are the perfect mid-afternoon snack for us mommies (you know, around that 3:30 time when the tummy starts rumbling for a little something).   The ingredients are simple and healthy.  I hope you'll give these little granola bites a try.  They will satisfy mommies...and kids alike.   

-4 ounces seeded Medjool dates (7 dates), soaked for 3 hours*
-3 tablespoons honey (vegans, maple syrup is a great sub here)
-3 tablespoons cashew butter
-3 tablespoons melted coconut oil 
-1/4 cup full fat canned coconut milk
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 1/2 cups gluten free oats
-1/2 cup sunflower seeds
-2 tablespoons chia seeds
-2 tablespoons hemp Seeds
-1/2 cup mini chocolate chips or dried cranberries

How To:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1.  To a food processor, add soaked and drained dates, honey, cashew butter, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt.  Blend for 90 seconds.  While the food processor is running, drizzle in the coconut milk.  Blend until everything is well incorporated.
2.  In a bowl, add the oats, chocolate chips, sunflower, hemp, and chia seeds.  Mix.
3.  Add the wet ingredients from the food processor to the dry ingredients.  Mix well and let sit for 5 minutes.
4.  With a spring scoop, make little balls and place on a baking sheet with a non-stick surface.  Make sure to really pack the mixture in the scoop.  Use your hands.  Get a little dirty.  It's fun.
5.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Immediately transfer the bites to a cooling rack.
Makes 24 granola bites.  I recommend making two batches at a time.  Enjoy. 

*I've made these using soaked and dehydrated oats and sunflower seeds.  They are equally tasty.  The color is more gray-ish and the texture is softer. 
*Please soak dates for the time recommended.  I cannot guarantee the same results if the soaking time is not as noted in directions.  

Shared on: Melt in your Mouth MondaysMotivate Me MondaysMealtime Monday My Meatless Monday, On The Menu Monday, Mix It Up MondaySlightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Real Food Wednesdays, Whole Foods Wednesdays, Wellness Weekend, Whole Food Friday Fresh Bites Friday, Show  Off Friday, 


  1. Gabby @ the veggie nookMarch 5, 2013 at 4:36 AM

    That sauce just sounds amazing, I can't imagine anything tasting bad coated in that beauty! Perfect fuel for a busy lady like you!

    1. Thanks, Gabby. And yes, it does make everything taste fab.

  • Hi Amber. Firstly, thank you for this awesome recipe—I can't wait to try it! But just curious why you wouldn't choose to dehydrate these gems of yumminess, rather than baking them so as to keep them raw? Perhaps it's the wet ingreds. that would make them difficult to stay in form unless baked (?).

    Also, I have to share (I hope you don't mind). I thought this was funny. I only have a very tiny Cuisinart mini-prep plus that chops and grinds—you can hardly call it a food processor—but I AM grateful to have it (I think the only real reason I wanted it so badly, way back when, was because it was pastel pink!). I've known for a while, that I am really needing a "big girl" food processor (lol) and as I'm looking at your recipe, I'm wondering, "Hmm, I wonder what kind of food processor Amber uses?" And sure enough, with my detective's eye, I notice the make and model of yours ON your blade (the center plastic piece). How perfect was that? So thank you for such close-up pics of your creations, that was a huge help (lol).

    So sure enough, I went on Amazon and lo' and behold, there it was. At least the Cuisinart DLC-10S Pro Classic 7-cup. Yours doesn't have the "S" so maybe yours is slightly dif. Nonetheless, it has great reviews. Do you love yours or would you actually recommend another?

    Thanks for reading and thanks for all that you do and share! And by the way, your little boy is so precious! What a cutie! :)

  • gfe--gluten free easilyMarch 5, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    Amber, I looked at your post title and said to myself "oh, those are me." Then I saw the photo and said, "yes, definitely." Then I read your post and saw you were inspired by my granola bites. Super, super cool! I think you did far better than I did as these babies are packed with goodness and nutrition. LOVE that you use your caramel sauce, too! I'll leave out the chia seeds (they're not my friends lately), but I'm on board with these yummies otherwise. :-)


    1. Hi Shirley. Well, we all loved your granola cookie bites. And I've mentioned before that my husband takes granola bars to work with his lunch everyday. So I am always experimenting with new bar/bite recipes. So, yes, chia seeds are not for everyone. I would just omit the chia and add in an extra 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds (and maybe a few teaspoons of psyllium husk) for binding. :-) Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Tessa Domestic DivaMarch 5, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    That saice IS amazing! I just whipped up a batch of these up, super yum! ilove the texture and mild sweetness. You now me, I had to chage something ('
    This time it was just method:

    I did a quick soak of the dates by soaking in boiling water for 10 minutes.
    I put all the ingredients for the caramel sauce into the processor and whirred away until smooth and creamy. I used raw soaked cashews in lace of the butter as it is what I had on hand: 1/4 cup.
    I them added the seeds and pulsed several times to break them into smaller chunks for my whole-seed averse kids.
    I then added the oatmeal and did the same, smaller pieces of oatmeal too!
    You know me, lazy cook, I had to find a way to use the minimum dishes as possible, I love recipes I can do all within the food processor! Thanks love!

  • Ha ha...mild sweetness. I must have something wrong with me. These taste WAY too sweet to me with the chocolate chips (perhaps because the chocolate chips DO have evaporated cane juice, which I am not used to). It's crazy. I can only eat one, then I am running into the cupboard for a salty chip. Anyway, glad you enjoyed them. Thank you for your version, Tessa. That's always helpful for readers to have another assembly option. :-)

  • Not Missing a Thing! Allergy Friendly CookingMarch 5, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    Pinning this one for sure! Sounds wonderful!

  • Amber,
    These look amazing! I love that you made them into bites instead of bars - and that you used chia seeds. These are the perfect kid friendly snack. I'm off to share this one on FB!

    1. Hi Meg, yes, these are super fun. Thanks for sharing on FB. :-)

  • I bookmarked these Amber. These look freakin' amazing. I can't wait to try them. I'm with you on the bite size. It's easier to just have a little bite that way. I'm looking for recipes like this for my upcoming adventure. These will be perfect.

    1. Ha ha, thanks France. You're too sweet lovely lady. Glad these might have provided some inspiration for your adventure.

  • feeldivinefoodMarch 7, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    These sound yummy and are so packed full of nutrition! I love your array of photos, too. :)

    1. Let's just say they don't last long in this house at all. I love making my family healthy snacks. It just feels good, you know! :-)

  • Yum yum! These look delicious! I bet my girls would love these. It's great to have healthy snacks like these on hand for when someone gets hungry. I'll definitely pin and try these soon. Thanks Amber! :-)

    1. I hope you enjoy them, Lauren. :-)



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