i am frugal...sometimes very frugal. i dislike spending money when i don't necessarily have to. no i am not one of those people that washes out their ziploc baggies or hoards money under their mattress, but i am stingy with my heat, save every penny there is to save, hunt around for the best bargain and make the majority of my meals & snacks from scratch. how do i save on snacks you ask? in comes homemade granola bars. granola bars are your friends. a portable snack filled with sunshine and goodness....okay that line was a bit cheesy- but sometimes my granola bars do taste like sunshine!
after getting over the intimidation factor, in addition to multiple failed attempts (um yeah pretty sure swearing was involved) at making granola bars i threw caution to the wind, tossed out every granola bar recipe that failed and started my own "granola bar party sunday" . after you figure out the right balance of ingredients, you will find granola bars are wicked (yes wicked, i am a new england girl) easy to make. you now have no excuse to buy granola bars- you know why? because you are gonna make em' and they are gonna take like 5 minutes of your time plus 10-15 minutes of baking and they are guaranteed to be delicious!
granola bars are super simple- you have your base ingredients: oats, sweetener/binder, liquid
sweeteners: honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, brown rice syrup, agave nectar, cream of coconut
liquids: apple juice, orange juice, really any juice you have on hand
once you decide on the type of granola bar you want to create start adding the bling : dried fruits, nuts, seeds & sweets
seeds : sunflower, pepitas, flax, hemp
dried fruits: cherries, cranberries, papaya, figs, pineapple
nuts: pecans, walnuts, macadamia, pignoli, cashews, almonds
sweets: carob chips, butterscotch chips, peanut butter, chocolate chips
the combinations are endless- math geeks, feel free to weigh in on how many different combinations are possible using the above list, cause' i have no idea but i know its a lot
feeling sassy? go on, toast your oats, it adds another laya of flava-
is it just me or is my inna new englanda coming out today...
once you master this recipe and see how easy it is you will never go back to store bought granola bars. you can buy bulk oats dirt cheap at sunflower natural foods or hannaford for .99 per pound (organic too!) - a pound of oats will last a while, so you granola bar virgins may only want to buy enough for 1 batch until you fully commit to your own "granola bar party sunday"
just think- healthier, you get exactly what you want in your granola bar and you will have more money on your wallet- so what's your excuse for not making these?
that's right, like i said you don't have one!
go on, be a granola bar making supa' star
makes 8 good size granola bars
you will need:
- 2 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking)
- 1/4 cup ground flax seed
- 1/3 cup brown rice syrup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup oj or other juice
- 1/4 cup dried cherries or other dried fruit
- 1/4 cup pepitas & sunflower seeds or other seeds
- 1/3 cup pecans or nuts
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey or other sweetener
- pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 350*
- toast oats in oven if toasting until fragrant, might as well make it a party and throw the nuts in there too!
- in a medium sauce pan combine brown rice syrup & brown sugar cook over medium-low heat until brown sugar dissolves
- toss in oats, nuts, seeds, fruit & flax seed, stir until well coated
- add juice, honey & salt stir until combined
- in a 8x8 pan lined with parchment paper (leave a bit of parchment over hang in order to remove the bars after baking) spread mixture evenly across the bottom, press down a few times with a rubber spatula to compress the mixture
- bake for 15 minutes, careful not to burn the edges- the bars will still seem soft after baking but will harden up a bit after they cool
- remove bars by lifting the parchment out of the pan; cool on a wire rack
- once fully cooled, wrap in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container up to a week