Sweet Treats: Brownies and Granola Bars

Today was one of the most depressing days of the year. It was the first day of fall where I had to put winter coat on because it was so cold in the morning. There was even a light powdered dusting of snow which vanished thankfully not long after the day broke. Have you guessed yet I am not a fan of late fall or winter?

How do I cope with this cold day? I go home, make a lovely cup of warm tea and enjoy a sweet treat. A little sugar rush always does the trick. I always get that “comfort food” feeling with classics like brownies, date squares and lemon bars. I particulalry like a snack packed with nuts for protein too, like granola bars.

granola bar 7


I have two great recipes for you today that will clear all your blues away too. Try these Classic Chocolate Nut Brownies or Chocolate Chip Granola Bars. Both recipes are excerps from The 250 Best Brownies, Bars & Squares cookbook by Esther Brody. I kind of put baking aside for a few years, I am not sure why. I did not keep old recipes so having a book with all these classics and new creative treats is a blessing.

nut brownie 3

I can’t remember the last time I made brownies. I was really thrilled with the results here. I had a glossy thin crust with a moist interior. I used sunflower seeds instead of chopped nuts. All I can say is Wow, loved my choice of seeds. They were a big hit at work.

Yields 36 brownies

Classic Chocolate Nut Brownies
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  • 4 squares (each 1 oz [28 g]) unsweetened chocolate 4
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine 175 mL
  • 2 cups granulated sugar 500 mL
  • 3 eggs 3
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 5 mL
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 250 mL
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped nuts 300 mL
  • Frosting (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C) and grease a 13- by 9- inch (3.5 L) cake pan
  2. In a large saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate and butter stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. When chocolate mixture has cooled, stir in sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until just combined. Blend in flour. Stir in nuts.
  4. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Place pan on a rack to cool completely. If desired, frost, then cut into squares.


Instead of chopped nuts I went with sunflower seeds. It was a delicious revelation.

nut brownie 4

Can you believe I have never made granola bars before now? I have been missing out. I love the versatility here where you can easily switch up the nuts or dried fruits around. I am not the biggest fan of raisins so I used dried cranberries instead. I liked that tangy flavor they gave. These are so nourishing, perfect for a 3pm energy kick.

granola bar 1

These two recipes are reprinted with the publisher’s permission, Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca. Get yourself a copy of this book for other great recipes like Ultimate Nanaimo Bars, Chocolate Chio Blondies, Fudgey Toffee Bars, Coffee Mocha Cheesecake Diamonds, Jam Crumb Bars and even no bake recipes like the Crispy Peanut Butter Squares.

Yields Makes 36 bars

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
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  • 3 cups old-fashioned 750 mL
  • rolled oats
  • 1 cup raisins 250 mL
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds 250 mL
  • 1 cup chopped peanuts 250 mL
  • 1 cup semi-sweet 250 mL
  • chocolate chips
  • 1 can (14 oz [398 mL]) 1
  • sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted 125 mL


  1. Preheat oven to 325° F (160° C) and line with a greased foil a 13- by 9-inch (3.5 L) cake pan.
  2. In a bowl mix together oats, raisins, sunflower seeds, peanuts and chocolate chips. Add condensed milk and mix thoroughly. Stir in melted butter until blended.
  3. Spread evenly in prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Place pan on a rack to cool slightly, then transfer cake, with foil, to a cutting board and cut into bars.


I substituted the raisins with dried cranberriesd I had on hand.

granola bar 5

Did you make one of my recipes? I would love to see it. Take a photo and tag me on Instagram @cultureatz.

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Free Ingredient Substitution cheat sheet