From Joyful Abode
It’s official, I’ve crossed over into “I make homemade versions of widely commercially available products” territory. I’ve long thought it odd when blogs post recipes for things like homemade graham crackers, goldfish, pop-tarts, you name it. So what in the world am I doing whipping up homemade granola bars like some sort of hippie? Well it all started when I was trying to think of a homemade gift for someone. Having a food blog can pose a bit of a conundrum – on one hand you want to tell everyone you meet about it to increase readership, but on the other hand once people know they sort of start expecting to see the fruits of some of your labor. And since my granola Christmas gifts had been a hit, granola bars seemed like the next step. I got lucky and stumbled on an amazing recipe on my first try. I imagine there’s plenty of granola bar recipes out there that don’t hold together or don’t taste good, but these were absolutely perfect. They’re on the soft side, and if left in the bottom of your purse crushed by a million other things (learned the hard way…) they will start to collapse, but by and large they hold their shape really well. And best of all, these are TOTALLY adaptable. My version was a slight adaptation from the original, using almonds in place of peanuts. And then tonight I made a second batch that mixed it up further with flax seed, rice cereal and a hint of chocolate (recipe coming soon if they pass the taste test when I cut them tomorrow morning!). Frankly, I think this might be the most excited I’ve been about a recipe in a while, and unlike most stuff we make that only John and I taste, I tested these out on quite a few people to rave reviews. So go on, get your hippie on and ditch those Quaker Chewy bars ASAP!
- 1 cup roasted, unsalted almonds
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 3/4 cup wheat germ
- 3/4 cup toasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 4 Tbsp coconut oil (butter would also work, if you don’t have coconut oil)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups dried fruit (I used raisins and cherries)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Crush your almonds (or other nut) by placing them in a zip lock baggie, putting the baggie between kitchen towels and going at them with a mallet. You don’t want them pulverized, but don’t leave any whole.
- Combine almonds, oats, wheat germ and sunflower seeds in an 11×13 baking dish. Toast them in the oven for 12 minutes, stirring every few minutes to avoid burning them. Remove from oven and dump mixture into a big bowl. You can turn the oven off now – no more baking.
- Combine brown sugar, honey, coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a small sauce pan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it comes to a simmer. If it’s taking a while and you get impatient, you can up the heat a smidge to medium-high. Simmer for one minute, stirring constantly, and remove from heat.
- Add fruit to bowl with grains and pour the liquid mixture over everything. Stir the mixture together VERY thoroughly so that the liquid “glue” gets on everything.
- Cut a piece of parchment that is twice as wide as your 11×13 baking dish. Place it in the dish with the extra hanging over the edges. Spray with nonstick spray.
- Dump the granola mixture into the baking dish and spread it out with a spoon. Pull the extra parchment over the top of the granola and push down REALLY HARD to level the bars and compact them together.
- Allow granola to cool at least 2-3 hours, or over night.
- Turn out onto a cutting board and cut into desired number of pieces. I went with 24 granola squares.
Note: I think these would freeze really well. Just wrap them individually in plastic wrap and toss in your bag when you want one for later that day. Should thaw pretty quickly.
Serves 12 bars or 24 squares.