I am actually a little surprised at myself for not putting up a post using my OCD ingredient of strawberries. Firstly, because despite not posting about it or taking pictures and spamming my instagram feed, I actually did already use strawberries a few times. The first was in a boozy strawberry jalepeno margarita, followed by this gorgeous Valrhona Bundt cake with the centre piled high with fresh fresh strawberries. After that, there was a baby spinach and roquette salad with fresh strawberries, sun-blush tomatoes, crumbled goats cheese in a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
Instead of any of those – we have these super amazing energy filled tasty granola bars.
Now truth be told, I’ve made granola bars before, and absolutely loved them. It is strangely comforting having control over what actually goes into your health bars, instead of the processed and sugar loaded store-bought varieties available out there. The other option is to purchase granola clusters or bars from home bakers at the various pop-ups, farmers markets and food events around town, but I definitely feel that those versions are unregulated and there is actually no real way to verify the ‘healthy’ sticker they come with.
Homemade granola is also an amazingly easy way to use up all that extra diwali dry fruit, as well as seeds and other healthy stuff you may have lying around – but were just too lazy to figure out a creative way to implement them into your diet! Ideally I would use chopped or slivered almonds, dried cranberries, mixed seeds (watermelon, muskmelon and sesame – to be specific I used the Nature’s Basket Roasted Blended Seeds), roasted coconut chips, hazelnuts, and any other fun stuff you feel like using up.
I found a lot of recipes in the internet that actually used flour and sugar and those kind of things. To me, that completely nullified that goodness what I wanted my granola to contain. Instead, I used ground oats (i.e. oat flour) to replace the requirement for all purpose flour, and reduced the sugar quantities and used honey instead. Also, the coconut and the cranberries and the peanut butter add the required amount of sweetness. Next time, I am going to try replacing the reduced amount of sugar with raw sugar, just because it seems like the right thing to do.
The increased amount of honey worked really well in my opinion, because it acted like a glue to really bind that granola together, helping it stay a bit sticky and chewy – so that it doesn’t just crumble and come apart when you try and cut it or pick it up. For anyone keen to try something in place of peanut butter (especially for kids or allergy prone adults) – almond butter should work too, although I haven’t yet given that a try.
- 1 2/3 cups oats
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar [next time I want to use raw sugar]
- 1/3 cup oat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 1/2 cups mixed nuts, seeds and dried fruits [ I used 1/2 cup each of dried cranberries, mixed seeds, almonds, dried coconut chips and hazelnuts]
- 1/3 cup peanut butter [or almond butter]
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1-2 tablespoon water (add 1 tbs more if the mixture is super dry)
- Preheat the oven to 175*c and line an 8″ x 10″ x 2″ rectangular baking pan with a little bit extra parchment paper, so you sling it up easily once out of the oven.
- Stir together the fmixed nuts, seeds and dried fruits and the oat flour. Add in the salt and cinnamon, and the oats.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, peanut butter, corn syrup, honey and water.
- Gently combine the wet ingredients with the dry until all the oat is moistened. Spread in the prepared baking pan, pressing firmly to mimic the shape of the pan.
- Bake for 40 minutes, until they’ve gotten a bit golden and tanned.
- Cool the bars in their pan completely on a cooling rack.
- Cut with a large sharp knife and store in the refrigerator.