These granola bars have been a work in progress for a while. Normally when I cook I make things up in my head all time, but since baking requires a bit more finesse, I usually look up a few recipes beforehand and pick out my favorite aspects of each. For some reason though, I chose not to look at any recipes beforehand when I decided to make granola bars- as a personal challenge or something. It started a few weeks ago, when I made no bake granola bars that I was pretty satisfied with at first. However, if I took them out of the house with me (=out of the fridge) they didn’t hold together too well, and what’s a granola bar if you can’t take it out with you? So, I figured a baked granola bar would hold together better. Following that logic, I took my no bake granola bars recipe and just popped it in the oven. Nope. Didn’t work. Instead of getting granola bars, I got chewy lumps of granola. Not wanting to give up then though, I decided to tinker with the recipe and see what I could do with it. I adjusted the amount of honey or coconut oil, or whatever I could do to get them to hold together better. After two more batches of crumbly granola, I felt defeated, and for a few weeks I stopped my experimenting process. However, this past week I watched an episode of Good Eats by my favorite chef, Alton Brown. By chance, it was his granola bars episode (which is on Netflix and you should go watch it after you read this post)! I felt inspired to try again, but it was the middle of the week and I had to put a pause on that though until after my final (ugh, school. Taking away from the important things, like food*). Fast forward to today, Sunday, November 8th, 2015. The scene: my kitchen. It’s my weekly granola making session and I notice hmm, I already have all the ingredients out to make granola bars. At this point, I remind you, the ideas for my granola bars had been festering all week in the back of my mind after that episode. So I figure, it’s about time to try again, and I go for it. And it was a success! Beautiful, yummy granola bars that held together! It was a joyous day full of cinnamon deliciousness.
Even though I feel very much accomplished and much more attached to this recipe after my struggle, you probably don’t have time to go through what I did or want to, so here’s the recipe:
*That was sarcasm, I actually really love what I’m studying.
1 and 1/3 cup of rolled oats
1 cup of nuts and seeds, chopped into smaller pieces if needed (I did walnuts, pecans, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup coconut flakes
9 dates (I did deglet noor, but medjool would probably work better)
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
2.5 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons raw honey
1/3 cup dried fruit, chopped into small pieces (I did cherries, apricots, and prunes)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 egg white
1 tablespoon ground flax seed and chia seed mix
- Preheat the oven to 325 F
- If using deglet noor dates, put them in a bowl and pour hot water on them to make them soft. Set them aside.
- Lay out the oats, nuts, seeds, and coconut flakes on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for about 12 minutes.
- Let them cool down a little bit and then place them in a large mixing bowl. Add the salt, cinnamon and any other spices you like.
- Take the pits out of the dates which have been soaking and place the dates in a food processor and blend them up with a splash of water until it looks a bit like a paste (it can still have some chunks in it though). If you’re using medjool dates you probably won’t even need a food processor to do this because they’re so soft. You could probably do it with a fork.
- Get a small saucepan and over medium low heat add the peanut butter, coconut oil, honey, and dates. Cook this until it is all combined and remove from the heat.
- Mix the flax and chia seed mixture with 2 tablespoons of water and set it aside.
- Whisk the egg white until it looks foamy.
- Add the ingredients from the saucepan to the dry mixture and mix until combined. Then add the egg white and the flax/chia mixture.**
- Place this in a 11×7 baking dish that is lined with parchment paper and bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes or until the tops and edges are golden brown.
- Take it out of the oven and LET IT COOL for at least 30 minutes before you touch it. If you cut it at this point, it would probably crumble. Once it’s cooled completely lift it out of the pan with the parchment paper and cut it into the size you want.
- Enjoy your healthy snack!