I had plans with Kath and Matt to go hiking later in the day, so I decided an impromptu trip to the grocery store was in order to get the goodies I’d need to make the perfect trail snack – granola bars. I LOVE granola bars – especially when they’re homemade.
Before starting on the granola bars, I got morning essentials out of the way – coffee – fresh ground Larry’s Beans in Louie Supremo.
I love how their bags are compostable. How clever!
They also had me with the coffee description (from the bag) – “Bright, light & big-flavored. Sweet-n-smooth w/ a clean lip-smackin’ finish.” Perfect-o!
I got my dry ingredients toasting in the oven. I used a little less almonds and added in sunflower seeds in their place to make the bars have more diverse ingredients. I also added some flax seed.
Oh did that coconut smell yummy toasting away in the oven!
Sipped on my delish coffee.
I subbed organic brown rice syrup for both the honey and the brown sugar to make the bars healthier. The brown rice syrup bottle suggested I use 1/4 cup extra of the syrup and 1/4 cup less of something else in the recipe so I subbed brown rice syrup for the honey and the extra 1/4 cup matched up perfectly with the amount of brown sugar I was supposed to use. Ta-dah!
Wet ingredients – about to bubble on the stove.
Once the dry ingredients were done, I added the toasted wheat germ and something I thought would up the nutrition factor – chia seeds!
Next, I added the wet ingredients, mixed well…
…and then added the dried fruit ingredients – 2 x dried cranberries (instead of 1 part apricot) and 1 x dates.
I had to pit the dates myself, but they were easy-peesy. Just a bit sticky.
I read a lot of reviews saying the bars feel apart too easily, so after mounding the mixture in my parchment lined baking sheet, I made sure to press the granola mixture very well into the pan. I mean, I really made sure to add some pressure! Those bars were NOT going to fall apart on me!
All I had to do now was pop the bars into the oven.
While my homemade granola bars baked away in the oven, I enjoyed a late breakfast – a fried Earthfare (cage-free brown) egg and
1 and 1/2 slices of Great Harvest cinnamon swirl bread with the rest of my coffee. Sooo good!
I did mess up on one thing on my bars. I neglected to read the part where I was supposed to let my bars cool for 2-3 hours. Doh! I needed to be at Kath’s place an hour after removing them from the oven!
I cooled them in the pan for 30 minutes and then on a cutting board for 20. I even tried sticking the bars in the fridge for 10 minutes to help speed up the cooling process.
They broke up a little when I cut them, but stayed together for the most part. I couldn’t wait for them to cool more, I had a hiking date to make!
I cut 6 bars and wrapped each in saran wrap and then we were off for an outdoor adventure!
Adapted from Ina’s Homemade Granola Bars
- 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
- 3/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup toasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
- 1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
- 1/8 cup flaxseed
- 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
- 1/4 cup chia seed
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2/3 + 1/4 cup brown rice syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
- 1 cup dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.
Toss the oatmeal, almonds, flaxseed and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ and chia seeds.
Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
Place the butter, brown rice syrup, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates and cranberries and stir well.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.
Makes a great pre-workout snack – lots of good stuff to give you energy in there!
Let me know how you like the bars if you try them!