4.22.2013

Homemade Granola Bars


I love granola bars. I love the nutty, sweet-salty flavor, and especially how convenient they are to pack along wherever you go. 
The only problem is I don't love the store-bought versions. Too much refined sugar and not enough healthy stuff, or they have lots of healthy stuff and taste like cardboard. I just want a granola bar that tastes good and is healthy 
 I know, I know. I'm a food snob.


I've tried so many recipes for granola bars but I just wan't crazy about them. They were mostly full of sugar and processed ingredients (marshmallows, chocolate chips, etc.).
Finally, I found this recipe and have been using it for years (literally).
Aaron is also a big fan! I have to hide them in the cupboard otherwise we would eat the whole pan in less than a 24-hour period.
We usually only make them when we are going on a outdoor trip, like biking, camping, and hiking. Otherwise, I would have to make these on a daily basis because we snack on them constantly :)

Fruit and Nut Granola Bars
adapted from eatingwell.com

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup nut 1
1/4 cup nut 2
1 tablespoon seed 2
1 tablespoon seed 2
1 cup unsweetened whole-grain puffed cereal*
1/3 cup dried fruit 1
1/3 cup dried fruit 2
1/3 cup dried fruit 3
1/4 cup creamy almond butter*
1/4 cup turbinado sugar*
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch-square pan with cooking spray.
Spread oats, nuts, and seeds on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the oats are lightly toasted and the nuts are fragrant, shaking the pan halfway through, about 10 minutes.


Transfer to a large bowl. Add cereal and dried fruit; toss to combine.


Combine almond butter, sugar, honey, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low, stirring frequently, until the mixture bubbles lightly, 2 to 5 minutes (depending on how chewy you want the bars).
Immediately pour the almond butter mixture over the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon or spatula until no dry spots remain. Transfer to the prepared pan. Lightly coat your hands with cooking spray and press the mixture down firmly to make an even layer (wait until the mixture cools slightly if necessary). Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes; cut into 8 bars.To store, wrap individual bars in plastic wrap or wax paper and store in bag or airtight container.

*Notes:
  • Kashi's Seven Grain Puffed cereal is the best, but brown rice puffed cereal also works.
  • Almond butter can be found at almost all grocery stores near the peanut butter.
  • Turbinado sugar is unrefined cane sugar. It is much coarser than white sugar and has a brown tint. You can pretty much use any kind of unrefined cane sugar in place of turbinado. There are lots of options at any grocery store.
  • To make this granola bar more chewy (like Quaker) you can up the wet ingredients to 1/3 cup honey and 1/3 cup almond butter and cook for 2-3 minutes.


Mix and match any of these nuts, seeds, and fruit to add variety to the recipe!
Nuts
Almonds (slivered)
Pecans
Walnuts
Cashews
Sunflower seeds (these aren't nuts, but they are larger than regular seeds and therefore need larger measurements)
Pumpkin seeds

Seeds
Sesame
Chia
Flax
Hemp

Dried Fruit
Apricots (chopped)
Currants
Cranberries
Raisins (any color)
Dates (chopped)
Bananas
Cherries
Blueberries
Goji berries
Mango
Strawberries




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