I have been on a quest. For years I have tried recipes for granola bars not containing corn syrup, looking for the right texture, consistency, and nutritional quality. I have been picky. Today’s recipe finally fills all my extremely high criteria. The bars are crunchy, yet chewy, they are not sticky or overly crumbly, they contain NO refined sugars, corn syrup, or other unacceptable to my high standards, ingredients. Fresh, natural, organic, nutritious, good for body and soul. Amen.
The original recipe which this one is adapted from, came from www.goop.com a blog by Gwyneth Paltrow. Who knew?! I do not follow celebrities, so I didn’t. I totally stumbled upon it by accident. However, there are lots of interesting looking recipes that one can gain some inspiration from if you are looking to kick it up a notch. It can help to get some new ideas, especially this time of year when our bodies are saying it’s spring, but mother nature is not cooperating. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. The recipes are fresh, fun, and pretty nutritious, and you can always modify them, like I did with this one. I’m looking forward to trying the kale chips next.
Here is my added flair to the original recipe, I doubled it, used thick rolled oats vs. quick cooking, for a less processed bar, added almonds for protein, and honey to stretch out my maple syrup. It is soon maple syrup season here, and I am on my last quart jar of homestead syrup. I would also look for another fruit source for the apricots, I am going to try dates next, as apricots are very expensive if you are buying organic unsulphured fruit. (I try to stay sulfite-free, as it can trigger migraines for me). So I will be experimenting with other dried fruits that may be easier on the homesteading budget. I think that raisins would work fine, they are just not a family favorite in our home. If your kiddos are raisin fans, you could definitely use them. The original recipe also called for canola oil which I changed to coconut oil for a healthier more nutritionally sound bar. Oh, and of course, I added some vanilla. I have tried hundreds of recipes, and this is finally the winner. So without further adieu, may I present….Drum Roll Please…..
Homemade Homestead Granola Bars
2 & 2/3 c. thick rolled oats
1/4 t. each, Redmond real salt, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and fresh ground nutmeg
1 c. dried apricots, roughly chopped (or any dried fruit)
1 c. raw almonds, roughly chopped (or nuts of your choice)
1/2 c. flax seeds
1/2 c. melted coconut oil
1/4 c. high quality maple syrup
1/4 c. raw honey
4 T. brown rice syrup
* a quick confession…I forgot the brown rice syrup in my first batch, if you don’t have any, the recipe still works, it may be just a bit more crumbly, but it was still a good bar. You could try adding extra honey if you do not want the expense of the brown rice syrup. My hardworkin’ hubby suggested this, and I think he’s brilliant…. 🙂
1 t. pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13 cake pan with parchment paper, letting a little excess hang over the sides.
- Process 2/3 c. of oats in food processor until finely ground. Pour into large mixing bowl. Process the apricots and almonds in food processor until roughly chopped. Add to mixing bowl. Stir in salt, flax seeds, and spices.
- In a smaller bowl whisk together the wet ingredients until well combined. Pour over dry ingredients and stir well.
- Pour into prepared pan. Smooth and pack down with a rubber spatula. Bake for 30 min. or until evenly browned.
- Remove from oven let cool approx. 15 min. in the pan.
- Using the edges of the parchment paper, lift the bars out of pan onto a large cutting board.
- Using a large knife cut into individual granola bars and let cool completely. I cut mine into a purchased granola bar size, about 2″x4″ bars.
These bars are peanut free, (if they need to be tree-nut free, just change to all seeds, rather than almonds) so they are school snack friendly, yummy, and nutritious. They can also be gluten-free by using appropriately processed oats. They are very portable, and packable. Everyone is loving these, the boys are packing for school, and Hardworkin’ Hubby is asking for these in his lunch pail! I am looking forward to trying some other combos of fruit, nuts and seeds. I am thinking chia seeds, sunflower/pumpkin seeds, dates, raisins, cherries or cranberries, pecans, walnuts, cashews……endless combos and possibilities with this one basic recipe!!!
Have fun feeding your family, and remember to bake a little love in!!!!