I have just made my third batch of Thick, Chewy Granola Bars in as many days.
After spying this recipe, I thought:
Breakfast on the go.
Freezable. (Yes, I am obsessed. And on the hunt for a deep-freeze.)
The first batch never made it out of the pan, let alone all the way to the freezer.
The second batch included some modifications intended to dial down the treat factor and amp up the nutritional value.
Apparently, these alterations were not sufficient, as their sweetness led to a topsy-turvy argument with my seven year old:
After downing a bar in record time yesterday morning, he asked, "What's for breakfast?"
"What do you mean?" I asked. "That was breakfast."
Speaking slowly, in a tone usually reserved for folks teetering on window ledges, this child, who wouldn't normally touch a nut or an oat for love or money, explained,
"That wasn't breakfast... that was a treat. Where are the eggs?"
He may have a point.
But this is a treat I am feeling pretty darn good about.
The recipe says to let the bars cool for 20 minutes before cutting, but I defy you not to eat them warm, straight out of the pan.
Especially if you include a handful of dark chocolate chips.
I did. Hence the need for batch number three.
Here's my take on Thick, Chewy Granola Bars:
1⅓ cups quick rolled oats
½-¾ cup evaporated cane juice¹
⅓ cup almond meal²
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
3 cups mixed fruits, nuts and seeds³
⅓ cup natural peanut butter
1 tbs vanilla
6 tbs melted butter
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tbs light corn syrup
1 tbs water
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Lightly grease a square pan and line with baking paper. Combine the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients, including the peanut butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine until moist and crumbly. Spread the mixture into the square pan and, using a large piece of cling wrap as a barrier, press the mixture down using your hands until it is firmly packed and evenly spread. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the edges brown and the top is golden. Allow it to cool in the pan (if you can resist nibbling) before cutting and wrapping individually. May be stored in the freezer.
1. Evaporated cane juice (a sugar cane product) is a less refined alternative to the regular sugar in the original recipe.
2. The original recipe called for 1/3 cup of finely ground oats (blitzed in a food processor), but I swapped it for almond meal for added protein and because my food processor has died.
3. I used 3 cups of: dried cherries, chopped; toasted almonds, chopped; pistachios; sunflower kernels, pepitas; shredded coconut; and a small handful of dark chocolate chips or finely chopped 70% dark chocolate.