These bars are very easy to make: just follow the ratio of nuts, fruits, seeds and nut butter, add a few basic ingredients to hold it all together, bake and voilà, you have a fresh supply of nutritious and delicious homemade granola bars on hand, ready to calm the worst late afternoon cravings. What’s great is that you can use whatever nuts and seeds you have on hand: I never combine the same ingredients twice. You could even swap some of the fruits or nuts for chocolate chips or cocoa nibs, but be warned: they may turn out so good you’ll want to eat them for dessert! To sweeten the bars up, my first choice is of course maple syrup, but you can use honey or agave syrup too. And if you want to cut the fat, you can substitute half the oil for applesauce. Once they’re baked, wrap each bar individually (I use waxed paper and washi tape) and keep them in an airtight plastic bag in the fridge for up to two weeks, or in the freezer indefinitely… alright, maybe not indefinitely, but who cares? They’re so good that they won’t last long enough for you to put that assertion to the test.
Chewy Nut and Fruit Packed Granola Bars
Makes 12 bars
1¾ cup [430 ml] old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup [80 ml] packed brown sugar
1/3 cup [80 ml] oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed until finely ground in a food processor or coffee grinder, or substitute whole wheat flour)
½ tsp [2.5 ml] salt
¼ cup [60 ml] wheat germ
2 tbsp [30 ml] sesame seeds
1 cup [250 ml] chopped nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, pistachios, almonds, or cashews
1 cup [250 ml] chopped dried fruit, such as dates, apricots, raisins, or dried cranberries (I always use at least a third of dates for a great chewy texture)
¼ cup [60 ml] seeds, such as sunflower, pumpkin, or flaxseed
1/3 cup [80 ml] canola oil (or half canola oil, half applesauce)
1/3 cup [80 ml] nut butter, such as peanut, almond, or cashew
1/3 cup [80 ml] maple syrup, liquid honey or agave syrup
1 large egg
2 tsp [10 ml] vanilla
Preheat oven to 350°F [175°C]. Spray a 8” x 8” [20 x 20 cm] pan with non-stick cooking spray and line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, stir together the oats, brown sugar, oat flour, salt and wheat germ. Stir in the nuts, dried fruits and seeds.
In a small bowl, whisk together the canola oil (and applesauce, if using), nut butter, maple syrup (or honey or agave syrup), egg and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until all of the dry ingredients seem to be coated with the sweet liquid and the mixture sticks together. Press firmly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until set and golden around the edges. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before cutting into bars (they’re easier to cut out if they’ve been refrigerated in the pan first). Wrap individually and keep in an airtight container or plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze for months.
Recipe Credit: Marie Asselin