Crunchy Granola-ness To Go

Maple Almond Granola BarsSummer 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

Get Ready

  1. Line the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13 baking pan with tin foil. Spray the pan with oil.
  2. Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat it to 300 degrees (F).

Make The Bars

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. Put the ground oats in the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  4. 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.
  5. Add the maple syrup mixture to the dry ingredients, and stir until the dry ingredients are pretty evenly coated.

Bake The Bars

  1. Press the dough into the prepared pan.
  2. Spray the back of a metal spatula (or bench scraper) with oil and use it to pack the dough in the pan solidly.
  3. Bake the bars for about 40-45 minutes, until golden brown.

Cut The Bars

  1. Let the bars cool in the pan for about 10 minutes.
  2. 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).
  3. Let the bars cool completely in the pan.
  4. Use the foil as a sling and lift the bars out of the pan.
  5. Separate into individual bars.

Store in an airtight container.

Yield: 20 granola bars

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