You really only need a few ingredients for a stellar granola bar. I don’t know why it just occurred to me that I can probably make a better granola bar than many of the ones you find in the store, but when my husband bought a box in the store the other day, I knew what we’d be dealing with on this here blawg this week.
A granola bar is actually a delicious conglomerate of super foods. Nuts and seeds, oats and fruit, held together by honey and nut or seed butter. They are substantial and nutritious, not really just a snack to hold you over. You can keep them simple or infuse them with complexity and either way they come together very easily and quickly. After making this version and a very simple oats-only version, granola bars have become another one of those things that I will take the 15 minutes to make at home rather than buy in the store. Why haven’t I attempted these before? I’m slowly reclaiming ownership of foods that we can do much better at home. In making these I’ve become an even bigger fan of rolled oats and will be incorporating them into everything.
I wanted these bars to have no added sugar so the base for them is dates. Growing up I thought dates were strictly in the realm of grandma food, but now I know better. They’re a sticky, moist, and soft, plump molasses-y wonder. Then I added almonds, oats, peanut butter, some flax and pumpkin seeds and honey, (or maple syrup) with a splash of vanilla and mixed it all together. These are highly customizable. You can throw in whatever it takes to restore your superpowers. They’re sweet, salty, crunchy, chewy and have staying power for when you need a pick me up. If you want to get fancy you can drizzle a chocolate or yogurt coating over them, depending on how decadent you want to get.
I hope you’re all having a good week. I always look forward to sharing my time with you here. Actually, some very practical people sometimes ask me why I keep this space, like what I get out of it. The blog has no bottom line. No formal agenda. It is not geared for maximum productivity. It will not get me a promotion. Is it a sense of narcissism, a need for validation? Possibly, but I can think of better, easier ways to feed that to the extent that it’s a driving force. The value in sharing a labor of love is that it adds depth and resonance to a shadowy, impersonal exterior world. Creativity, writing, photography, feeding and learning are all vehicles toward inner values, a deepening of skill, of self and a way of understanding history as well as development toward the future. To share the journey with like-minded people makes it satisfying. The notations of a recipe offer a foothold to the heart, the writing, an expression of an interior life. Cultivating an art, whether you chose to share it or not, rivals with skyscrapers when it comes to soaring and the visions and views it enables. If you do ask me, though, my usual response is just, “because it’s fun.” So i guess there’s that.
This week I thought I’d share some of my internet footprint lately. You can see how I derail. Enjoy and be well!
Everything about this Bon Appetit video is hilarious. It’s like two worlds colliding.
It turns out Siggi is a real person!
I’m not sure how I feel about meat growing in a lab.
A bald eagle whisperer…whoa.
As a short story writer I have to commend France on its new short story dispensers!
Perspective really can change the way you live. Pay attention to how you frame your inner monologue.
If I drink coffee from 9-5 then wine from 5-9, do the benefits equal out? Just kidding. Sort of.
SUPERFOOD GRANOLA BARS
- 1 cup packed (200 g) medjool dates, pitted (if they’re not moist and plump, soak them for 10 minutes in water)
- 1/4 cup (84 g) honey (or sub maple syrup or agave for vegan option)
- 1/4 cup (64 g) creamy salted natural peanut butter or almond butter or tahini
- 1 cup (112 g) roasted unsalted almonds, loosely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups (135 g) rolled oats
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- optional additions: chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, banana chips, vanilla (1 tsp), etc.
Process dates in a food processor until small bits remain (about 1 minute). It should form a “dough” like consistency.
Optional : Toast your oats in a 350 degree F (176 C) oven for 15-ish minutes or until slightly golden brown. Otherwise, leave them raw.
Place oats, almonds and dates in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Warm honey and peanut butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir and pour over oat mixture and then mix, breaking up the dates to disperse throughout.
Once thoroughly mixed, transfer to an 8×8-inch baking dish or other small pan lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper so they lift out easily.
Press down firmly until uniformly flattened – I use something flat, like a drinking glass, to press down and really pack the bars, which helps them hold together better.
Cover with parchment or plastic wrap, and let firm up in fridge or freezer for 20 minutes.
Remove bars from pan and chop into 10 even bars. Store in an airtight container for up to a few days. Provecho!