Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Granola bars are a staple snack of my day. In trying to eat better I was sad to discover just how much "stuff" is in the average store bought granola bar - even the kashi ones just have a few too many ingredients that make you wonder what exactly you're putting in your body.
I found this recipe and couldn't wait to try it. They definitely didn't disappoint! They are crispy and delicious! I can't wait to experiment with these (chocolate chips)! :)
2 1/2 C rolled oats
1/2 C shredded coconut
1/4 C flax seeds
1 C slivered almonds
1 t. sea salt
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. vanilla
1/4 C agave nectar* (honey works if you don't have this on hand)
1/4 C natural peanut butter
1/4 C brown sugar
1 C dried cranberries (or other dried fruit)
Preheat the oven to 325. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Next, line a square baking pan (8 or 9 inches) with two perpendicular sheets of parchment paper that are long enough to leave an overhang. The sheets will form a “basket” for you to lift out the sheet of granola, before you cut it into bars.
Combine the oats, coconut, seeds and nuts; spread out evenly on the rimmed baking sheet and toast for 15 minutes. When the oat mixture has been toasting for about 10 minutes, combine the agave nectar, peanut butter, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and vanilla in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. If the sugar dissolves before the oat mixture is done toasting, reduce the heat to low.
When the oat mixture is done toasting, transfer it to a large bowl and add the honey mixture and fruit; stir to incorporate. Spread the mixture in the prepared square pan, using the back of a wooden spoon or bottom of a measuring cup to press the mixture into the pan and create a smooth, even surface. Bake the granola mixture for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack. Remove from pan and cut into 16 bars.
(recipe adapted from the kitchen sink)
*I first discovered agave nectar about a year ago when a recipe for black bean brownies called for it. I've been buying it in place of honey ever since. See here for the health benefits and more info.