Thursday, November 10, 2011

Super Easy Homemade Granola Bars

I found this recipe for granola bars on the Food Network about five years ago and have been baking them ever since. I've changed the original recipe a bit by eliminating the powdered milk and adding in some "super" seeds - chia, sesame and flax.  They are super easy to make; you just throw everything into a food processor and then a baking pan to bake.  They taste great and are very healthy, but not too healthy.  I say this because whenever I’m experimenting with a recipe, trying to make a healthier version of the original, I’ll use my husband as my taste tester.  I know if he says my creation tastes “healthy”, I need to keep trying. 
I usually bake a batch every other week, wrap them in sets of two and store them in the freezer.  They are great for snacks or a quick breakfast.  My husband takes them when he travels for work so he doesn’t have to rely on overpriced airport food or be tempted by unhealthy food choices, at least some of the time…
I’ve made some changes to the original recipe;  this is a great one to customize to your own taste.

Super Easy Granola Bars
1 cup old-fashioned, rolled oats
½ cup raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
½ cup raw almonds
½ cup raw walnuts
½  cup ground, golden flax (golden flax has a much milder taste than regular ground flax)
¼ cup whole-wheat pastry flour (or almond flour)
½ cup dried apricots or golden raisins
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup pitted dried dates
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 Tablespoons chia seeds
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
¼ cup 100% pure maple syrup (can use honey)
2 large eggs
Zest of one lemon (optional)

1.)  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare a 9x13 inch baking pan with cooking spray (I use olive oil or coconut oil spray)
2.)  Place all dry ingredients except syrup, eggs, almond extract and lemon zest, into the food processor and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped.

3.)  Add eggs, syrup, almond extract and lemon zest, and pulse until the mixture is well combined.  You may have to scrape down the sides with a spatula and pulse again.  The mixture should resemble a coarse paste.

4.)  Transfer to the baking pan and spread evenly with wet hands.  Bake just until the edges start to brown, about 22 minutes.  Let cool and cut into 20 rectangles.  Can be stored at room temperature or in refrigerator for a couple of days, but they freeze well.  Enjoy!

"The Greatest Wealth is Health" - Roman Poet Virgil

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