My Granola Bars

Granola bars are easy and flexible — they take less than an hour to make and are a simple combination of things you love. Low on the glycemic index and packed with all sorts of powerful, healthful treats, this combination is a favorite. There are so many options — different varieties of grain, dried fruits, nuts… coconut flakes, carob chips, cardamom, molasses, lavender… the mind boggles.

Keep in mind that the dry measurements are approximate, and should add up to 5 cups total. You may like your granola bars chewier or drier; what you’re aiming for is a good ratio between wet and dry ingredients. Experiment!

1 1/4 cup rolled oats
1 1/4 cup rolled spelt
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pistachios
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup agave nectar or other wet sweetener, such as honey or brown rice syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup almond butter
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup dried gooseberries

Spread your dry ingredients, minus the fruit, onto a cookie sheet. Let them toast in a 350 degree oven, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, for about ten minutes. While the toasting is happening, combine the salt, vanilla, cinnamon, agave nectar, brown sugar, and almond butter in a saucepan and stir over a medium flame until the sugar dissolves. You could also add a few pats of butter here, if you’re so inclined.

At this point, you have two options: to bake or not to bake. Either way, you’ll have a baking dish lined up and over the sides with parchment (if baking) or wax paper (if not) ready to go. An 11×9″ dish will yield thinner bars than a square 9×9″ dish. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, fruit included, in a large bowl. Spread the mixture into the dish with a spoon and cover with paper or plastic wrap so you can press it down with your hands.

If baking, put into a 325 degree oven for 30 minutes. For both baked and non-baked varieties, you will want to wait until the mixture has cooled entirely. The you can remove it from the dish with the help of the paper, which you’ll then peel off. Cut and trim; wrap in plastic for easy transport or store in an airtight container with wax paper between layers to prevent sticking.

Makes about 10 bars

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