We have a place
For all the reasons one runs away from life ..
It feels like it's too much .. or maybe an extra bit of fun is in order
So this holiday week .. a cold winter afternoon .. the temp on its way to -17 overnight .. we waved goodbye to the kitties as they napped in their street-front windows .. the puppies sleeping-over at the pet resort
A fresh batch of granola bars .. made from a simple assortment of oats, nuts, and dried fruit .. tucked in my backpack .. were a natural fit for road-trip snacking
The original comes from Lorna Sass's Whole Grains Every Day Every Way .. adapted slightly to our way of everyday eating
Wanting for more protein .. 1/2 of the oat flour replaced with protein powder .. Kashi's Go Lean crunch finding it's way into the mix as well
The secrets to granola bar success lie in my discoveries from the past
How best to bind them together? There are many recipes that call for agave, honey or maple syrup .. with a final product more often than not .. crumbling into bits
I've gotten around it by adding nut butter along side .. but the calorie count starts to rise significantly by the time the desired effect has been achieved.
In the end, I've settled on one product that works every time .. brown rice syrup.
The other key lies in the process of pressing the mixture into the pan.
Line with enough parchment paper to hang over the ends of the baking vessel .. an press the heck out of it. The harder & longer one presses .. the less change you'll wind up with granola instead of granola bars. (At least a minute or better)
Finally .. refrigerate the granola for about 2 hours .. once it's come out of the oven & cooled slightly at room temp .. they're much easier to cut when cold.
These freeze beautifully .. a bar taken out of the freezer as you're heading out the door .. will be ready to eat by the by the time you make it to your desk & are ready to think about work
If you're wanting for granola .. simply crumble & add to your morning's greek yogurt
~ Adapted from Lorna Sass's Whole Grains Every Day Every Way
Fruit and Nut Oatmeal Bars
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup Kashi GoLean crunch
- 1/4 cup brown rice syrup ** the original called for honey
- 3 Tbsp orange juice concentrate
- 2 Tbsp Canola Oil ** the original called for walnut, hazel or canola
- 1/4 cup oat flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened protein powder ** the original calls for 1/2 c oat flour & no protein powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/3 cup dried apricots chopped
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup raisins golden
- 2 Tbsp almond butter ** or peanut butter
- 1/2 slivered almonds toasted
- 1/4 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds, toasted
- 3 tablespoons ground flax seed
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Grease an 8×8 square baking pan or equivalent baking vessel (** I used a 10" cast-iron skillet)
- Sprinkle two tablespoons of the rolled oats on the bottom of the pan .. reserving two tablespoons to sprinkle on top.
- In a saucepan, bring 1/2 cup water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, whisking in the brown rice syrup, orange juice concentrate, oil, salt and cinnamon. Cover and turn off the heat.
- In a food processor, combine the cranberries, raisins, and apricots. Pulse a few times until they are chopped.
- Add the oat flour, protein powder, baking powder, baking soda, remaining 3/4 cup of oats, cereal, apricots, cranberries, raisins, almond butter, almonds and sunflower seeds into the brown rice syrup mixture in the pot. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, mix together the ground flax seed and 1/2 cup of water. Whisk vigorously until the mixture becomes gummy, about 1 minute. Fold the flax seeds slurry into the oat mixture.
- Pour into the prepared baking pan and and smooth off the top. Sprinkle the remaining oats on top and press the batter until it's compact (see notes above) Bake until the bottom and sides are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes.
- Cool in a rack. Transfer to the fridge & let cook a couple of additional hours.
- (** Note .. the additional step of cooling the bars in the fridge is optional .. but will help greatly when it comes time to cut them)
- Then cut each half into 1-inch wide bars.
- Enjoy warm, at room temperature or chilled.