by Two Healthy Kitchens
Granola and honey: You can use any granola you'd like, including homemade granolas like our Easy, Healthy Applesauce Granola. If you purchase store-bought granola, be sure to read the nutrition labels carefully, as various brands and varieties differ significantly in their ingredient lists, amount of fats and sugars, etc. The exact amount of honey you'll want to use may vary depending on the granola you've chosen. For example, with the purchased cinnamon or fruit and nut granolas we've used, we find that 3 teaspoons of honey is plenty. But, with the less sweet dark chocolate granola we've tried, we find that we like the final taste of the Snack Bites a little better if we increase the honey to 4 teaspoons. We recommend starting with 3 teaspoons of honey, mixing everything together, and then tasting your Snack Bites to determine if you need to add just a little bit more honey.
Dried fruit and chocolate chips: Feel free to use whatever mix-ins you'd like, varying them for your preferences or the type of granola you've chosen. For example, we sometimes pair a dark chocolate granola with mini chocolate chips, or granola flavors like cinnamon or fruit and nut with dried cranberries for the mix-in.
What to do if you're having trouble shaping the balls (or are making these partially ahead (UPDATED 9/27/16): With many of our Snack Bites recipes, we note that we love to make big double- or triple-batches (or more!). With most of our other recipes, you shouldn't worry if you don't have time to shape all the balls right after you mix the ingredients together – just cover the mixing bowl and refrigerate for several hours or even a few days, until you have more time to finish shaping the energy balls. (You can also just grab little portions straight out of the mixing bowl for emergency snacking.) However, with this particular recipe, the granola really soaks in the moisture, and if the mixture sits too long (for example, if you're shaping balls for a triple-batch, or if you run out of time to finish and need to refrigerate it for a few hours), these can be more difficult to shape. What I like to do if I'm having trouble is pop the bowl with my mixture into the microwave and microwave VERY BRIEFLY (in about 10-second intervals) on 50% power – just until the mixture is SLIGHTLY warm. Be very careful not to COOK the mixture or get it too hot. This will make the balls much easier to shape again, as they were when you first mixed the ingredients together. Note, however, that if you're mixing in chocolate chips, they will, of course, melt a bit depending on how warm the mixture gets (which isn't really a problem in terms of flavor and actually can help the balls bind together, but can make the process just a bit messier).
Storing and freezing: If your peanut butter is one of the natural brands that needs to be refrigerated, then so do your Snack Bites. Actually, regardless of the peanut butter you use, these will keep much better in the refrigerator, for longer storage. These also freeze very well. To freeze, store the Snack Bites in a zippered freezer bag. Even better, you can portion out three or four balls into individual snack baggies, all ready for grab-and-go – then seal all the snack baggies inside a larger, gallon zipper bag.