Healthy, Hearty Granola Bars

You know those chubby, chewy, sticky, sweet golden bars you see in the shop? Proclaiming themselves as healthy? You know the ones – bursting with oats, nuts and dried fruits but also laden with syrup, sugar, unhealthy fats and unnecessary additives.

This recipe is for granola bars, but a type that is actually good for you. Filled with oats, nuts, seeds and some dried fruits, they provide a filling snack, a part of a breakfast or perfect pick-me up before or after the gym. I have been making these for years, a true staple in my kitchen. Easy to make and easy to customise to your liking – sub fruits and nuts for your favourites – below is my suggestion.

Healthy, Hearty Granola Bars

makes 16-24, depending on size.
Oven: 180 Celsius

1+2/3 cups rolled oats (or quinoa flakes or a mix)
4 tbsp coconut sugar (normal works just fine)
1/3 cup oat flour (make your own by grinding oats in a food processor)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups dried fruits and chopped nuts (total of 300-400g)
– Almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds, dates and cranberries or raisins are my faves.

Optional: 1/2 cup nut butter
6 tbs melted butter (oil works too)
1 egg, whisked lightly
2 tbsp agave syrup (or golden, or maple or even honey!)
1 tbsp water

Line a small baking tray (20×30 cm, or similar) with baking paper, allowing it to go up the sides. This makes it a lot easier to get it out of the tin after baking.

Stor together the fry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together melted butter, liquid sweetener, egg and water. Add nut butter if using (warm it up to make it easy to stir). When thoroughly mixed, add to dry ingredients and toss until the mixture is evenly crumbly and there are no dry parts.

Spread mixture in prepared pan, pressing firmly down to ensure they are moulded to the pan and that they will stay together after baking. A piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper can help – just press down with your hand on top.

Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown around the edges and on top. They’ll still seem soft and perhaps a little under baked when you press into the centre of the pan – but don’t worry, they will set completely as they cool.

Leave to cool in pan, then put them into the freezer before cutting – this ensures clean cuts. Cut with a serrated knife, and wrap individually in cling film or foil. Store in freezer – they thaw in minutes so you can easily grab one on your way out the door on busy mornings.

Keeps well for about one month.

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