Thank you for your comments on my previous post. I truly loved receiving your responses, and was very encouraged by all the opinions, perspectives and personal experiences out there.
This past weekend I got in touch with my inner hippie, and spontaneously decided to make granola bars at eleven o’clock one night (thankfully, Steve was gone on a white water rafting trip, and did not witness this moment of insanity from his wife). I’m still not quite sure what possessed me to do that. As we have become more health-conscious in recent months, our refrigerator and pantry have begun to resemble those of a hippie commune. Soy milk, brown rice, tofu, dried fruit, whole wheat pita bread…it’s all there. So I suppose homemade granola bars seemed like the next logical step.
After reading a bunch of granola bar recipes, I came up with the one below. Since it was late at night, beyond grocery store hours, I had to work with ingredients that we already had (which explains the weird blend of fruit). While I’d like to refine the recipe at some point, these actually turned out great. They were chewy and delicious. Plus homemade granola bars are healthier and way less expensive than the store-bought ones! This recipe has so many options, and can be made to fit your taste. Next time I think I’ll add flax seed, almonds and dried cherries.
2 cups oats
1/4 cup sesame seed
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups dried fruit, chopped (I used apricots, cranberries and lychee)
Butter a 9×9-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread oats onto a sheet pan. Place in the oven and toast for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add sesame seeds and toast for another 2 minutes. In the meantime, combine the honey, brown sugar, peanut butter, vanilla and salt in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until combined. Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and immediately add it into the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine. Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish. Cool completely and cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.