I go through phases where I really get stuck on what to snack on. I get sick of my old stand by snacks and need something new. Most store bought granola bars are really cookies or chocolate bars in disguise, so it's not surprising that as a Naturopathic Doctor I don't eat them as a regular snack item. I do keep the Made Good bars in the cupboard at home as an emergency food in case I'm out an my son gets hungry, but again - these aren't eaten on a regular basis. Once again, I've been trying out some new recipes and I really liked this one for home made granola bars. They're gluten free and can be made with or without dairy, and most importantly they're so full of nuts or seeds and have tons of fibre & protein that they're a decent option!
So, here's the recipe that I've adapted from the original from Smitten Kitchen - let me know what you think!
1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts
1/3 cup nut/seed butter (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil
2/3 cup honey, maple syrup or corn syrup
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8 x 8 pan in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. Lightly grease the exposed pan, or coat with a non-stick spray.
Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter or oil, liquid sweeteners. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry (and peanut butter, if you're using it) until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly.
Bake the bars for 30 minutes until they're brown around the edges.
Cool the bars in their pan completely.
Once cool, a serrated knife to cut the bars into squares.
Note: I used cranberries, prunes, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds in my first batch.
I used dried apple & pear, ground flax seed, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds in my second batch.
I haven't tried adding the nut or seed butter, but would try it next time as my bars are still a bit crumbly. But the extra crumbs I just put on plain organic yogurt and gobble them up!
I honestly used corn syrup in mine because I had it in the cupboard and wanted to use it up, but next time I'd likely go for a combo of honey & maple syrup which are the healthier options.