It’s absolutely beautiful here today. The sun is streaming in through the windows. There are birds chirping in the trees. It’s lovely. Cold as all get out but beautiful. I’m thrilled to see and hear signs of new life as spring moves slowly in our direction. As a family we’ve been embracing the freedom that comes from not needing 10 layers each time you leave the house. There have been trips to the market and walks throughout the neighbourhood. We’ve allowed ourselves time to linger in the outdoors and embrace sunshine on our faces. It’s a nice reprieve after a long winter.
On these adventures we find ourselves needing sustenance from time to time. While I have found some bought granola bars that are fairly healthy and tasty, there is nothing that compares to the homemade variety. Homemade granola bars are filled with whatever excites you as your making them. I have been working on perfecting our recipe and this past week finally discovered the perfect combination of savoury and sweet. These bars were devoured and made again quickly as my boys loved them. I may have snuck a few myself. They are really tasty. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
Shut the front door bars
1 1/2 c old fashioned oats
1 1/3 c crispy rice cereal
1/3 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 c pumpkin seeds
1/4 c sunflower seeds
1/3 c dried cranberries
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp chia seeds
1/3 c maple syrup
1/3 c honey
1/3 c natural peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
Line a 9×9 square pan with parchment paper ensuring enough length is left to help you remove the bars once finished.
Combine the oats, rice cereal, shredded coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cranberries, sesame seeds, and chia seeds in a large bowl.
In a small sauce pan over med-low heat stir together the maple syrup, honey and peanut butter until the mixture is well combined. Once the mixture is ready remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, cinnamon and salt.
Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir well until all ingredients are coated.
Pour the mixture into the pan and press firmly until the bars are compact and even across the top. Use parchment paper to aid in this process. A spatula also helps to press things down. You want the mixture to be compact to ensure maximum stability of the bars once cut.
When finished place the bars in the freezer for 30 minutes to help firm. Once firm, remove from pan carefully and then cut into bars. I use a large kitchen knife to do this and press firmly but gently as I make the first cut across the pan. You’re going to want to go halfway at first as you’re likely going to need to make two cuts. Doing this in two steps prevents breakage and loss of tasty goodness.
Cut the bars into whatever size you would like. We get 16 from this recipe. Store the bars in the fridge to maintain integrity.
We eat honey in this house from a local beekeeper. We love his honey but recognize that others may not choose to indulge in honey. While I personally haven’t tried it I suspect brown rice syrup would work in place of the honey. Do not try maple syrup. I tried only maple syrup and the consistency was wrong. It was tasty but wound up being crumbly granola instead of a firm bar.
Feel free to mix up the ingredients. I’m clearly loving the cranberry/coconut combo right now. You could do chocolate chips, dried cherries or any other number of things.
If you’re throwing this in your lunch or taking it on the go just wrap the bar in saran to help it keep it’s shape. It may get a little soft depending on where you’re storing it before you eat it but it’s still tasty.