Summer is grab-and-go time. I like to get going early in the morning, before Long Island’s delightful hazy-hot-humid kicks in. That doesn’t mean, however, that I’m a fan of skipping breakfast, or dealing with family members who have skipped it. I love granola, so granola bars seemed a perfect solution. The problem was that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of middle ground when it comes to store bought granola bars. They either taste like candy bars or like sawdust. They are so hard that you break a tooth trying to take a bite, or so sticky they glue your teeth together. I wanted a quick fix that was on the healthy side, that tasted good but didn’t feel like dessert.
After some tinkering, I think I found what I was looking for. I started off with a recipe from The America’s Test Kitchen DIY Cookbook, and after some tinkering came up with a bar that I’m quite happy with, and that the family asks for regularly. One of the nice things about these bars is that they keep beautifully – I can leave a batch in a cookie tin on the counter and everyone can grab and go as they see fit.
MAPLE ALMOND GRANOLA BARS
- 2 cups rolled (old fashioned) oats
- 1/4 cup ground flax seed
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (I use reduced fat shredded coconut)
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/8 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond butter
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup olive oil or canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Line the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13 baking pan with tin foil. Spray the pan with oil.
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat it to 300 degrees (F).
Make The Bars
- In a medium-large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of the oats with the coconut, sunflower seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Break up any clumps of brown sugar. Break up the almonds a bit with your fingers and add them to the bowl.
- Put the remaining 1/2 cup of the oats and the flax seed in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until finely ground (about 30-ish seconds).
- Put the ground oats in the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
- In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup, almond butter, oil and vanilla. Stir, breaking up the almond butter, until all the ingredients are combined.
- Add the maple syrup mixture to the dry ingredients, and stir until the dry ingredients are pretty evenly coated.
Bake The Bars
- Press the dough into the prepared pan.
- Spray the back of a metal spatula (or bench scraper) with oil and use it to pack the dough in the pan solidly.
- Bake the bars for about 40-45 minutes, until golden brown.
Cut The Bars
- Let the bars cool in the pan for about 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes use the edge of a metal bench scraper or metal spatula (or a knife) and cut the dough, still in the pan, into 20 bars (a 5 by 4 grid).
- Let the bars cool completely in the pan.
- Use the foil as a sling and lift the bars out of the pan.
- Separate into individual bars.
Store in an airtight container.
Yield: 20 granola bars