Around 3-4pm every day I find myself rummaging through my desk looking for a delicious and nutritious snack to help me get through the mid-afternoon slump and power through the rest of the workday. Of course there are always the standard staples: fruit, nut butter, cheese, yogurt, cereal, etc, but sometimes I just want a quick snack that doesn’t require a lot of fuss. Enter the granola bar.
I try to steer clear of store brand granola bars for a variety of reasons. 1. Many of them contain high-fructose corn syrup and other artificial ingredients that my body doesn’t agree with and/or is allergic to, and 2. These bars are LOADED with sugar, which none of us really need. With the exception of LARABARS, I never purchase snack bars from the market. But every now and again I do get the urge for a chewy, delicious granola bar.
So when I stumbled upon these delicious looking granola bars on Eat, Live, Run, I knew I had to make them and get a little granola bar action back in my life. After reading the recipe I decided to make a few modifications based on the ingredients I had in my kitchen. I noticed many of the comments had said make sure to use honey or brown rice syrup instead of agave nectar for a thickener, but since I only had agave on hand I decided to wing it. I mixed the ingredients together, threw it in the fridge like the recipe called for and waited for the bars to set. And waited some more.
Needless to say, this is one of those classic examples where making too many modifications to the recipe will not yield the greatest results. The flavor was spot on, but it was clear to me that these were not granola “bars,” just granola. But it is delicious granola at that! And instead of having my afternoon snack in bar form, I enjoyed my granola “bar” over some greek yogurt.
Homemade Granola “Bars” (adapted from this recipe)
1 cup agave nectar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4th tsp salt
1/4 sunflower seed butter (any other nut butter will work too, but I’d use a creamy one as opposed to a crunchy one)
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (with no shell)
3/4 cup dried cranberries
Combine agave nectar, sunflower seed butter, salt and vanilla in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for about four minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a large bowl, combine all other ingredients. Pour the boiling agave mixture over the oat mixture and toss well.
**Press mixture into a greased nine inch pan and pat down with wet hands. Chill in fridge for an hour, or until firm. (this is the part where you are supposed to cut them into bars, or in my case, turn it into granola).
Store granola “bars” in a tupperware container to ensure freshness.
**The mixture came out pretty thick (but not thick enough for granola bars), so it created more of a museli-type mix. For crunchier granola I recommend roasting in the oven at 350F for 15 minutes.