Crunchy Good-for-You Granola Bars
I’ve been on a bit of a granola kick lately. A little while back I made those chewy, 100% customizable granola bars that are totally fun for mixing and matching ingredients. Then, I shared with you my all-time favorite granola recipe. I am hopelessly addicted to that stuff. I made a batch of it for our road trip to Florida, where we had no trouble polishing it off. Then I made another batch before we left to come home so we had a stash for the trip back. (I think there are still granola remnants in the car.) Once back home, I started thinking about merging the two – the awesome crunchiness of the granola with the portability (and cohesiveness) of a bar. I began searching for a crunchy granola bar and after sifting through countless recipes these really jumped out at me. It was different, had a combination of grains, seeds and dried fruit, and sounded delicious. My intuition was right. These are phenomenal. I’ll definitely be keeping a steady supply of these on hand for healthy snacking.
Since you may not be familiar with all of the ingredients needed to make these bars (I wasn’t) I thought I would go through the uncommon ones and let you know where I found them so hopefully you don’t have to do too much wild goose-chasing.
Puffed Kamut – I found this in the organic/health foods section of the grocery store near where the Kashi cereals and other organic puffed rice and wheat were displayed.
Salted sunflower seeds – I picked these up in the produce section of the grocery store on the shelves where the bulk nuts are found. They had regular and unsalted, but the recipe specifically called for the salted version, so I got those.
Raw pumpkin seeds – I also found these in the organic/health foods section of the grocery store.
Brown rice syrup – This was also in the organic/health foods section. It has the sticky consistency of honey, and after doing some Googling I came up with a 50/50 on whether it needs refrigerated after opening, so I went the safe route and stored it in the fridge.
I hope you all enjoy these granola bars as much as I have. And hey, don’t say I never throw a healthy bone your way every now and then ;-)
Crunchy, Good-for-You Granola Bars
1½ cups puffed kamut (or puffed rice or puffed wheat)
1½ cups traditional rolled oats (not the quick-cook kind)
½ cup Grape-Nuts cereal
1/3 cup dried cranberries or chopped dried apricot (or mix of both)
1/3 cup salted sunflower seeds
¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
Dash of cinnamon
3½ tablespoons almond butter (can substitute soy butter or peanut butter), creamy or chunky
3½ tablespoons brown rice syrup
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line and 8- or 9-inch square pan with a long sheet of parchment paper (so ends extend over edges of pan).
2. Mix the puffed kamut, oats, Grape-Nuts, dried fruit, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and cinnamon in a large bowl.
3. In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the almond butter, brown rice syrup, honey, brown sugar and vanilla until sugar has melted and the almond butter has thinned.
4. Pour the liquid mixture on top of the dry ingredients, mixing well. When everything is equally coated, spread the mixture into the pan. Press the mixture down with the bottom of a measuring cup or the back of a wooden spoon. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
5. When you remove the pan from the oven, again use the back of a wooden spoon to press the bars flat. Allow to cool completely before touching them again.
6. When totally cooled and hard, lift the ends of the parchment and put onto a cutting board and cut into bars or squares. I wrapped the individual bars in foil and stored them in a ziploc bag at room temperature.