. . .
A couple of months ago, 2.0 and I bought a huge box of granola bars from Costco. As in, we consumed about 80 granola bars in just over two months. You see, we’re a lot like Olivia Newton John: we like to get physical. Our jobs are physically demanding, so we need to fill our bellies when we are at work. And though the Costco bars were good, I’m not going to lie to you: I never want to eat one again. At least, not one of that particular brand.
But these here homemade granola bars? I’d happily scarf one down. They are tasty and kinda crunchy-chewy, and they fill you up right good like.
You can adjust these bars to your own taste. I hate raisins – they make me want to gag. But you might like them, so you could add some to your bars. It would be totally and completely wrong, but you could do it. And maybe you don’t like cashews (because, like all of 2.0’s family, you claim that they make you gassy). So you don’t add cashews. Look, I’m not here to judge you.
When you pull one of these outta your lunch bag, you’re going to look like a superstar. People will feel pathetic and inadequate around you. And that’s the point. You’re eating well and making other people feel like crap. It’s win-win.
. . .
- 2 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup of raw sunflower seeds, shelled
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups of dried fruit and nuts – I use dried cranberries, cashews and pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips to mix in the granola bar (optional)
- 1/2 – 1 cup chocolate chips to top the bars (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×9 inch pan.
Spread the oats, seeds and nuts onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, and toast in the oven for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir occasionally to toast evenly. (Do not toast the dried fruit, if you’re using it. That would be silly.)
Meanwhile, combine the honey, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the brown sugar is completely dissolved.
When the oat/nut mixture is done toasting, reduce the heat of the oven to 300°F. Immediately add the oat mixture to the sugar mixture from the saucepan (I combine them in a large mixing bowl). Add the dried fruit (if using) and flaxseed, and stir well to completely coat everything in the honey sugar mixture. Add 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. Mix gently to combine – the chocolate chips might melt a little. Press the mixture into the 9×9 pan, and pat down flat.
Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle 1/2 – 1 cup of chocolate chips over the top. Let them sit for a few minutes until they have started to melt, and then spread the melted chocolate chips over the top of the bars. Allow to cool and then refrigerate for a couple of hours until the chocolate hardens. When the chocolate has hardened remove the bars from the pan and cut into squares – this is a messy, crumbly process. You’ll get over it.
I store our bars in the refrigerator, but you could also keep them on the counter in an airtight container for up to a week.