Granola/Nut Bars

A while back I decided to start making healthier snacks and hunted for a good granola bar recipe.  While I’ve collected some more traditional recipes to try (s00n), the one I landed on was heavier on nuts and seeds than oatmeal and I liked the switch.

The original recipe turned out to be a bit of a mystery as the amounts in the recipe were far too small for the size pan specified; first off I wound up having to transfer the thinly spread ingredients (which would have turned out to be granola instead of bars) to a pan half the size.  Then I wound up deciding to tweak ingredients, which kept happening over several tries.  Now the recipe I’m using basically has nothing in common with the first.  But I love these.

Leigh’s Granola/Nut Bars

Heat oven to 300 degrees.  (I find if I start it first it’s ready long before I am so I usually wait till I’m farther into the process)

Dry ingredients:

  • 1-1/3 cups dried cranberries
  • 3 cups chopped raw cashews
  • 1 cup raw slivered almonds
  • 1 cup oats (not quick)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • 4 Tablespoons chia or hemp seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 2 Tablespoons almond butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

As is usual with granola-type recipes, substitute other fruits, nuts and seeds according to your preferences (just make sure the seeds are similar sizes; either tiny to substitute for hemp or chia or larger to substitute for sunflower or pumpkin).  You can also choose a different type of nut butter.

Mix together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl; make sure the salt and cinnamon are well-distributed.

Separately mix together all the wet ingredients (I put them in a Pyrex measuring cup so they’re easier to pour).  Stir well.  I find it takes quite a while to get the wet stuff well distributed through the dry so my advice is, take the bowl somewhere where you can sit for a few minutes and be comfortable while you stir and stir and stir.

Lay parchment paper on a cookie sheet approximately 16″x 12″; although pundits claim they come in standard sizes, I have a bunch and I’ve measured them and there are lots of variations.  I have several within an inch of this size in one or both dimensions and any will work.

Spread the mixture evenly on top of the parchment paper.  Bake 33-37 minutes.  I usually check at the 33 minute point and they often come out then but occasionally it seems to take a little longer.  They should be slightly brown and firm but not too brown (often bits at the edges wind up more brown).  You really don’t want these overdone or they’ll break up when you try to cut them.

They need to sit for about an hour on the pan after they come out of the oven and then you need to cut them fairly soon.  If you cut earlier, they’re still warm and tend to fall apart when you cut.  If you wait very long past an hour, they get drier and tend to break up.  I get about 20 fairly standard size bars from this; recently I’ve started cutting them smaller as I’m pretty satisfied with just a small chunk.

These freeze very well so I usually divide half into one box and put half, separated in layers by wax paper, in another box for the freezer.  They last well for about two weeks when left out and are edible after that but not as good.  I’ve never left the freezer box in there for much more than the couple of weeks it takes to finish the first box so I can’t tell you how long they can stay in there 🙂

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