Fully Loaded, Thick and Chewy Granola Bars

With Almonds, Sunflower Seeds, Dark Chocolate, Unsweetened Coconut, Dried Cherries, Dried Cranberries & Golden Raisins

I got up from the floor and brushed off the back of my legs. “We need to vacuum.”

“What do you mean ‘we?'” Roo replied.

“There’s cat hair everywhere,” I said, picking at a couple stray hairs on my pants, “When was the last time we vacuumed?”

“You mean when was the last time I vacuumed?

“I vacuum!”

“You’ve never vacuumed. Or take out the trash.”

“I do! And…I thought you liked to do those things.”

“Really?”

I laughed, unable to keep a straight face.  “We need to vacuum.”

The kitchen timer went off before Roo could reply.

“What are you baking?”

“You mean, what are we baking?” I said, removing the granola bars from the oven; the smell of toasted almonds, coconut and cherries filling the apartment.

I could hear Roo getting up from the couch.  “Granola bars?” he asked, as he shuffled in behind me.

“For school. And that little girl who takes away your cookies.”

“E,” Roo smiled, “And she asks.”

He tore off a corner piece, batting the hot crumble between his hands a few times before popping it into his mouth.  “You know what?”

“What?”

“We need to make more of these.”

.

These granola bars are thick, chewy and toothsome. They’re slightly sweet and full of lovely textures from the almonds, sunflower seeds, and various dried fruits. Pick one up as a power packed breakfast or a treat after dinner. Either way, these bars are ones that I’ll be making again and again.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes About 16 Squares

Equipment

A sharp knife

A food processor (if you do not have oat flour and need to process your old fashioned oats)

A large sized mixing bowl

A medium sized mixing bowl

A whisk

A spatula

An 8 inch square baking pan, lined with parchment paper (optional) or greased

Ingredients

One and two third cups of old fashioned oats

One third cup of oat flour (I used old fashioned oats and processed them till a finely ground)

One third cup of sugar

Quarter teaspoon of salt

Half cup of almonds, chopped

Half cup sunflower seeds (optional)

Half cup of dark chocolate chips

Half cup of unsweetened shredded coconut

Half cup of dried bing cherries (optional, as they can be expensive)

Half cup of dried cranberries

Half cup of golden raisins (or black raisins)

Quarter cup (4 tablespoons) of butter (like Earth Balance), melted (or coconut oil)

One third cup of almond butter (or peanut butter or any other nut butter)

6 tablespoons of maple syrup

1 tablespoon of warm water

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Place the oven rack to the middle position in the oven.  Preheat the oven to 350F.

Add the old fashioned oats, oat flour, sugar, salt, almonds, sunflower seeds (if using), unsweetened coconut, cherries (if using), cranberries and golden raisins to a large mixing bowl.

Add the melted butter, almond butter, maple syrup, warm water and vanilla extract to a medium mixing bowl.  Whisk the ingredients till well combined (it should be smooth).

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, and stir well with a spatula.  The mixture is not going to hold together, but you want everything to be wet/moistened by the wet ingredients.

Scoop out the mixture into the prepared pan. Press down the mixture firmly.

Bake the bars for 25 – 30 minutes (mine were done in 30 minutes), or until they’re starting to brown (you the top to be lightly browned, and it’s ok if the edges are a darker brown).

When you pull the bars out of the oven, it won’t look ready.  It’ll feel too soft, but it’s ok.  It’ll set once it’s cooled.

Allow the bars to completely cool before cutting them. If you try cutting them when they’re warm, they’ll fall apart. If you try eating them when it’s 80F out, they’ll fall apart.

If they do seem crumbly, it helps to throw them in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Cut them when they’re cold.

(I let them cool completely, then cut them.  I didn’t have crumbling issues, but when I did try to eat them on a hot day – it was 75F this afternoon – they fell apart. I would recommend keeping them refrigerated if you make them in hot weather. Also, I stored them with pieces of parchment paper in between in an airtight container. However, you could wrap them individually with plastic wrap to prevent them from sticking to each other as well.)

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5 thoughts on “Fully Loaded, Thick and Chewy Granola Bars

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