I can’t be certain, but I think Littlest’s first words must have been “up the counter.” I hear the sweetness of the phrase multiple times a day which translates, “Mommy, I want to sit up on the counter and help you cook.” Although capable now of expressing herself more fully than “up the counter,” I can’t bring myself to correct her. One day we’ll both grow out of it…
In the meantime, we have a lot of cooking to do “up the counter.” Today, we are making one of our favorite after school snacks – homemade granola bars. Actually, Littlest and I have been working on a new recipe all week. I kept tweaking the binding ingredients to get the consistency just right – a slightly crunchy, still chewy bar of goodness!
I have to thank the 1st – 5th graders, our teachers and my fellow carpool moms at school who have tasted (and tasted again!) each attempt I’ve tried this week. Judging from the thumbs up, smiles and big empty tupperware container, I think we finally scored the winning batch. Trust me, I have a very discerning audience.
Follow the base for this recipe, but get creative with the add-ins! These bars are quick and easy to make and full of wholesome ingredients.
Homemade Granola Bars
3 cups rolled oats (not instant), divided
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups mixed dried fruit, finely chopped *
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 TBS vanilla
2 TBS honey
Pre-heat oven to 350. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with parchment paper.
Grind 1 cup of the oats in a food processor until powdery. Add the ground oats to a large mixing bowl with the remaining oats, flaxseed, coconut, ginger, and salt. Mix well. Add chopped dried fruit and mix until well combined.
In smaller bowl, mix the canola oil, maple syrup, vanilla and honey. Pour into oat mixture and stir until well combined.
Put the mixture into the prepared pan, smoothing the top and pressing down to help combine. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, just until the edges begin to brown. Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes. Cut into individual granola bars.
Tips & Hints:
* I used Kirkland Signature Dried Mango & Berries from Costco.
* Measure the dried fruit after it is finely chopped for a perfect amount in each bite.
* Chocolate chips and currants are favorite add-ins too. If you go this route, substitute cinnamon for the ginger.
* I used Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oats, making these a perfect gluten-free snack for the Littles. They are also dairy, nut, and egg free.
* If you are lucky enough to have a handful or two of crumbled oats after you cut the bars, I have it on good authority these sprinkle exceptionally well on ice cream.