Granola Bars

If you’re looking for a sweet treat that doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup or preservatives, and also happens to be rather nutritious, look no further!

I’ll admit openly that this recipe has nothing to do with CSA.  It can, however, have a LOT to do with your local farmer’s market.  The one near me almost always has honey, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit available.  I even plan on dehydrating my own fruit soon, so I could potentially dehydrate apples, pears, and berries from my CSA box!

Version One:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oats (you can toast these by spreading them evenly on a baking dish and putting them in a 350 oven, just take them out and stir them often and KEEP AN EYE ON THEM)
  • 3/4 cups wheat germ or flax meal
  • 1 cup chopped toasted nuts (walnuts, peanuts, pecans, cashews, hazelnuts, etc)
  • 3/4 cup toasted seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, etc)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (skip this if you’re buying already salted nuts/seeds)
  • 8 oz dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, chopped apples, figs, dates, pineapple, mangoes, etc)

What I Did:

  • Toast the oats, nuts, and seeds if you want/need to.
  • Simmer sugar, honey, butter/oil, vanilla and molasses in a med/large heavy bottomed pan on med/low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Stir in the oats well, remove from heat.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Grease a sheet of waxed paper and place in a metal pan.
  • Empty contents of the pot onto the paper, and cover with another greased sheet of waxed paper.
  • Spread it out and press it down REALLY HARD (this is why you use a metal pan and not glass or ceramic).  I use a wooden mallet.
  • Set aside and allow to set for at least two hours (the most difficult part, really).
  • Cut into desired shapes, store air-tight layered between waxed paper (you can save cracker & cereal bags and cut them just for this purpose!)

Other stuff to try:

  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom…
  • Coconut

Version Two:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oats (you can toast these by spreading them evenly on a baking dish and putting them in a 350 oven, just take them out and stir them often and KEEP AN EYE ON THEM)
  • 3/4 cups wheat germ or flax meal
  • 1 cup chopped toasted peanuts
  • 3/4 cup toasted seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, etc)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (skip this if you’re buying already salted nuts/seeds)
  • 8 oz chocolate chips

What I Did:

  • Toast the oats, nuts, and seeds if you want/need to.
  • Simmer sugar, honey, butter/oil, vanilla and peanut butter in a med/large heavy bottomed pan on med/low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Stir in the oats well, remove from heat.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Grease a sheet of waxed paper and place in a metal pan.
  • Empty contents of the pot onto the paper, and cover with another greased sheet of waxed paper.
  • Spread it out and press it down REALLY HARD (this is why you use a metal pan and not glass or ceramic).  I use a wooden mallet.
  • Set aside and allow to set for at least two hours (the most difficult part, really).
  • Cut into desired shapes, store air-tight layered between waxed paper (you can save cracker & cereal bags and cut them just for this purpose!)

I make these pretty often.  Tonight was my first time trying the peanut butter chocolate chip ones, and I took pictures to help you out with the steps:

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