One of my essential daily snacks is a granola bar. I love them and eat them all the time--breakfast, snack, dessert. I especially enjoy the trail mix bars, loaded with nuts and dried fruit. And for ages now, I've been meaning to make my own. They are so easy to put together, taste wonderful, smell terrific in the oven, and you can add exactly what you want to fit your fancy. Not to mention they don't contain all of the junk that store bought bars have--preservatives, added fats, refined sweeteners, a plethora of corn products...Why haven't I made these months ago?
So today, I've finally made my own. Exciting!! I was inspired by this recipe from a nice looking blog, The Kitchen Sink, and adapted it for the ingredients that I had on hand. I really love pumpkin seeds but didn't have any today. I enjoyed the mix of brown sugar and honey and liked the sesame seeds. Unfortunately, my coconut flakes were rather old, and didn't really add anything special, but I'm sure fresher coconut would be tasty. I'm a fan of whole nuts and seeds and so I liked the whole almonds.
Next time, I'll cut back on the oats to 2 1/2 cups and add another nut/seed and/or puffed rice cereal for lightness. But wonderful bars for my first go at it! Yummy!! Wrap them individually in parchment, and they're ready to go for lunches or treats in the car! I'll definitely play around with this recipe and make other combinations:
peanut butter for the oil
Rice Krispies in place of some of the oats
maple syrup for some of the sugar/honey
So many possible add-ins! Fun!!
Continue for Granola Bar recipe.
3 cups old-fashioned oats (next time, cut back a little to 2 1/2 cups and add seeds/wheat germ/puffed rice)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1 t sea salt
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 cup whole almonds, unsalted
1/2 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 generous cup mixed dried fruit: cranberries, dates, apricots
Preheat oven to 325.
Line a 9x9 pan with 2 pieces or parchment or foil so that there are overhangs on each side of the pan. (This will make it easy to get the bars out of the pan.)
Spread the first set of ingredients on a large, rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15 min., stirring once half way through.
A few minutes before oats mixture is finished baking, combine next set of ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until brown sugar is dissolved.
In large bowl, combine oats mixture and sugar mixture; stir to combine.
Add dried fruit and mix.
Spread granola in prepared pan and press down firmly to pack it in.
Bake for 30 min.
Remove from oven and allow to cool COMPLETELY.
Lift out of pan and cut into bars with a very sharp knife.
**Do not try to cut when still warm!