To prepare for almost a week of slinging grilled cheese and super food smoothies at Lightning in a Bottle festival, I decided to make granola bars. I knew that I would be able to live on grilled cheese and smoothies for 5 days straight, but, as I have a solid fear of not having access to food when I want it, I decided to make a quick batch using ingredients I had on hand. I had never made granola bars before. Except for as a child, the first time I watched Gone With the Wind, with my mom. But these ones are better. (sorry mom)
I started with Ina Garten's recipe and then mixed it up with my own ideas and a few items that I had on hand. They proved delicious! Here's what I did.
Date, Coconut and Peanut Granola Bars
- 2 cups old fashioned oatmeal
- 1 cup raw peanuts
- 1 cup shredded coconut
First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then mix up your oats and coconut and spread them out on 2/3's of a sheet pan. Spread your peanuts out on the other 3rd. Place them in the oven to toast for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Stir every few moments. The peanuts will need to come to room temperature in order to get a crunch, so I like to put them in the freezer once out of the oven.
While those are in the oven, prepare your granola bar sheet pan with oil, and then parchment on top. Set aside.
Next, get out your clean coffee grinder and grind the following ingredients to a flour like consistency. Should be about 2 minutes.
- 1/4 cup quinoa
- 1/4 cup flax seeds
- 1 Tbsp bee pollen (If you happen to have it on hand)
Pull your sheet pan from the oven and drop the contents into a nice mixing bowl. Add your ground quinoa and flax mix and stir it up.
Reduce the oven temp to 300 degrees.
In a saucepan place
- 3 tablespoons coconut butter
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1.5 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoons salt
Bring this beautifully sweet mixture to a boil. You will want to stir it up. As it comes to a boil it will foam up nicely. Continue stirring and cooking for about another minute. Then, pour your sweet mixture into your oat mixture and stir it up until the sweet goodness is fully incorporated and touches every flake of oat.
Next add your mix ins
- 1.5 cups Dates, pitted and cut into quarters
- peanuts, pulled from the oven, cooled and chopped
- (you could use any nuts and dried fruit that you have on hand.)
Stir them into your sticky oat mixture until they are well spread throughout the batter. A silicon spatula is a good tool for this.
- 2 heaping tablespoons Peanutbutter
and gently sort of drip into the batter to create a ribbon effect. Gently stir up and in until the peanut butter is all in there. Do not stir too vigorously, in order to maintain that ribbon effect that we talked about.
The batter is ready! Use the tips of your fingers to gently press the batter into your lined baking sheet until it is evenly spread out, and at about the depth that you want it. Mind that the batter has an even thickness throughout. If it doesn't reach all sides of the pan, no trouble. This is not runny batter, so it will stay put.
For a nice finishing touch I like to add chocolate chips to the top of about half of my batter. When I pull the pan out of the over, I use a butter knife to gently spread the melted chips on top. As the bars cools, the chocolate hardens. It is a delightful touch.
Now place the sheet tray with batter in the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until light golden brown. The darker brown, the crispier they are. I like mine chewy, so I take them out when they are light brown.
Once the bars are cooked, they will need to cool for a few hours. Once cool, cut them into bars just like you would brownies. Pull them off of the sheet tray and store in a jar in your pantry, ready to be grabbed for your next trailblazing adventure!