Granola Bars

Happy Friday! So to end a very long, rainy week, I am happy to report that the sun  finally decided to show its face again, AND spring is right around the corner (can you believe March is only a few short days away?). Daylight savings time? Is that you? Your late nights are so close, I can feel it.

In all honesty, I have been planning to post these granola bars for the past few days and couldn’t quite get out of my end-of-winter, rainy days funk. But when I woke up this morning and my new favorite weatherman said it would be sunny and close to 65 degrees (which is why he is my new fav obviously), it was like the lights flipped on, and my mood automatically turned around. It truly is amazing how a little vitamin D can really change your attitude in a matter of minutes. And just in time for the weekend…thank you sunshine. And I will even thank you, 40 mph wind.

cherries, berries, dried fruit

I made these granola bars for Andrew (the H) since the poor guy had to take another Bar Exam to practice law in Virginia. Two years ago, before moving to D.C. and after graduating law school, he took his first bar exam and passed (yay!).  But the job opportunity that came his way was in Virginia (not Texas where he is licensed to practice), and so, here we are, taking the test again. And by “we” I mean “he.” I thought that, at the very least, I could provide some brain nourishment for the two-day fun fest he was about to take part in. And granola bars are kind of the perfect, healthy snack that can be really be eaten at any hour of the day.

After reading reviews of several recipes, I settled on this one by one of my favorite cooking goddesses, Ina Garten. And after noting some changes made by others on the Food Network site, I made a few swaps, sprinkled in a few Plum Pie touches, and ended up with these babies. A few people mentioned having trouble getting these to stick together. A recommendation from a reviewer suggested grinding the oats and almonds before toasting them. Well, since I had already mixed the almonds, oats, and coconut together before I read this, they all got blended in my mini food processor (I only blended half of them because I wanted the bars to have some texture.) I also added some almond butter because I love the stuff, and I also love granola bars with nut butters. Next time, I might even go crazy and double the almond butter in the mix. Peanut butter would be fab too.

Have a fabulous weekend and happy cooking!

 

Granola Bars
Adapted from Ina Garten
{Makes 12 to 16 bars}

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
1/2 cup golden flaxmeal (Ina calls for toasted wheat germ if you prefer, I had flaxmeal)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup almond butter (or any other nut butter that you like)
1 1/2 cup chopped dried fruit (I used a mix of dried cherries, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries I bought at my grocery with a few chopped medjool dates)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with foil.

Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together in a small bowl.  Using a food processor, pulse half the almonds, oats, and coconut mixture. Toss the ground oats mixture with the other half of the oats mixture and spread on a sheet pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the flaxmeal.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute and take off the heat. Stir in almond butter, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the chopped dried fruits 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.

What’s your favorite healthy “brain food” snack?

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5 thoughts on “Granola Bars

  1. Marci

    Those look delish. I have a small obsession with homemade granola and bars. My dog jumps when the food processor or blender comes out. She is so scared and barks so loud. Does yours do that or is mine just the crazy one?

    Reply
  2. brooke Post author

    Haha. No he doesn’t bark but he definitely runs into the other room! I think he is getting used to it though – Andrew has started making smoothies every morning so there is a lot of blender activity going on!

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Peanut Butter Granola Bars | Food Doodles

  4. Pingback: Peanut Butter Granola Bars - Food Doodles

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