Homemade Granola Bars
For kicks, I made my first ever batch of homemade granola bars last weekend and thought I'd share the recipe with you. I would make one change to what I did, so I'll let you learn from my mistake. This recipe is infinitely adaptable, depending on what nuts, seeds and dried fruits you like, so feel free to modify. I recommend keeping the overall quantities similar so that there is enough "glue" to hold everything together.
This is NOT by any means low-calorie, what with all the nuts and seeds, but you can at least feel good that the calories you're consuming are from healthy and whole foods, with only a minor amount of sugar (which you can omit if you prefer).
I changed my ingredients slightly from the original recipe because I wanted to include pumpkin seeds since they are high in trace minerals like zinc, magnesium and iron. Also, Adam picked up a mix of tropical dried fruits, containing pineapple, papaya, coconut and more. The original recipe called for raisins, dried cherries and dried apples, if I remember correctly.
So you really can use whatever you like and even make them multiple times with different ingredients per batch to see what you like best.
The one major mistake I made is that I replaced the almond butter with peanut butter. Honestly, I didn't have any special intention. I was just trying to be good about using what was in the pantry since I already had to buy a good number of the ingredients for this recipe. (Though, I have plenty of leftover seeds and such, so I can definitely make more batches without having to run back to the store!)
However, peanut butter is a very strong flavor, and commercial peanut butter specifically (as opposed to natural), is a bit sweet. So the unfortunate result is that my first batch turned out just slightly overwhelmingly peanut buttery. Not inedible, but a little overpowered.
So my one recommendation is that, if you do make these, either blend up your own nut butter real quick or go ahead and buy a mild one (almond, cashew) to use in the recipe. That way it doesn't completely take over.
Also, I was tempted to omit the sugar (in fact, the recipe I posted here already reduces the original quantity by half), but I was a little concerned about having enough of the sticky mixture to hold everything together. So if you want to omit processed sugar altogether, you could probably just increase the honey by a tablespoon or two and be perfectly fine.
What you're left with is a whole bunch of delicious goodness without chemicals or preservatives. Oh, and I should mentioned that these are chewy instead of crunchy, for those of you who prefer that texture. I'm guessing you could bake instead of chill them if you wanted crunchy ones, but don't take my word for it. I'm no expert! I only know that's how it works with biscotti.
This recipe was so fast and easy, it's totally worth your time. I think it took me an hour or less, with measuring, toasting, heating and mixing. The fridge does the rest of the work for you. This has been part of a delicious breakfast for us this week! (245 calories per bar, for anyone keeping track.)
Recipe below and in the sidebar for future reference.