Friday, October 1, 2010

Foodie Friday: Chewy Fruit and Nut Granola Bars

Photo credit: Michelle Loy. Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

If you've been a reader of my blog, you know I am a strong believer in planning when it comes to food. I can almost always be accused of having a granola or energy bar in my purse, bag, or car at any given moment. Why? This strategy helps me set-up my environment so that I have a nutritious food option available when I'm in a pinch. Maybe I have to sit in the doctor's office for longer than I anticipated. Maybe I got a late start in the morning and although I fed my kids breakfast, I didn't feed myself. Maybe I need something convenient to eat between meetings. Whatever the reason might be, I'm relieved that I have that planned option there. That brings me to my recipe today. While I do have my fave granola and energy bars, I recently decided to venture into the world of homemade granola bars. After seeing a recipe on Smitten Kitchen for "thick, chewy granola bars", I couldn't resist taking a stab at homemade granola bars myself. I was surprised to learn how easy these bars were to make, and my daughter enjoys helping me. I also love the fact that I know exactly what went into these granola bars, and I can change it up, if I like. So, here's my interpretation. Enjoy!

Chewy Fruit and Nut Granola Bars
Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen, 2010

1 2/3 c quick-rolled oats
1/3 c oat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1/2 c raw pepitas
1/2 c golden raisins
1/2 c dried cherries (unsweetened)
1/3 c almond butter (You can also use peanut butter.)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 Tbsp applesauce (unsweetened)
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
6 Tbsp honey (You can also use maple syrup.)
1 Tbsp water

*I used a total of 1 cup of nuts and 1 cup of dried fruit. You can experiment with 2 cups of other nuts or fruit, such as pecans, sunflower seeds, peanuts, cashews, sesame seeds, dried apricots, cranberries, apples, or coconut flakes. Also, if you don't want whole pieces of nuts or fruit, you may want to toss them into a food processor for a bit to break them up a little more.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 8" x 8" pan with parchment paper, including up the sides if possible, and spray with olive oil cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients, including the nuts and fruit.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the almond butter, vanilla, applesauce, oil, honey, and water.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and combine until the mixture is evenly crumbly.
  5. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan making sure to evenly cover the bottom. Press flat into the prepared pan. (I like to use a rubber spatula for this.)
  6. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and let the bars cool completely. (I lift the bars out of the pan using parchment paper to place on a cooling rack. It makes the cooling quicker.) Using a serrated knife, cut into 16 squares. Enjoy!
*To store, wrap individually or place in a single layer in an airtight container or store with parchment paper in between layers of bars. Mine keep well for at least a week in an airtight container on the counter. In humid weather, it's best to store these in the fridge. You can also try freezing them.

Serves: 16
Nutritional Information:
Calories: 222 Carbohydrate: 26 g Fat: 11.5 g Protein: 6 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Fiber: 3 g Sugar: 15 g (5 g is added sugar from honey) Sodium: 79 mg
Excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids and magnesium and a good source of thiamin, iron, and zinc.


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