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Monday, June 2, 2008

Homemade Granola Bars

For me the summer means many weekends of hiking the Adirondack Peaks in New York state. There are 46 peaks over 4000ft which offer spectacular views. Although I am not in any rush I plan on completing them all and becoming a member of the 46ers. Hiking for me is not just about physical activity and the outdoors which I love, but a mental escape from hectic daily life. It is so peaceful and quiet in the trees it gives me a chance to decompress, reflect and just be in the moment. I have an added motivation to hike them this year as in September my husband and I will be hiking the Mont Blanc Tour in Europe. This is a hut to hut hike through the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. I am sure as the trip approaches I will talk more about it.

I have consumed my fair share of Gorp (Good Old Raisins and Peanuts) or trail mix/granola bars on my hikes. In order to make a healthier trail mix, one with less sugar and less oils, this year my husband I decided we'd make our own homemade trail mix/granola mix. This idea then inspired me to try a granola bar recipe. This recipe is adapted slightly from The Kitchen Sink. I have seen others that used wheat germ, which I may try next time.

The bars are very good, crunchy and the sour cherries compliment the nutty flavors. However, I must say I prefer a softer chewier granola bar. So in the end I ended up breaking up the granola bars into granola mix. This is great for on the trail or as a cereal mixed with berries and milk.

2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup pepitas
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 cup whole almonds
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup light peanut butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup dried cherries (really good fruit to use, but can use any dried fruit)

Preheat the oven to 325 F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the oats, coconut, seeds and nuts; spread out evenly on the rimmed baking sheet and toast for 15 minutes. Gives them a nice roasted flavor.

When the oat mixture has been toasting for about 10 minutes, combine the honey, peanut butter, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and vanilla in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

When the oat mixture is done toasting, transfer it to a large bowl and add the honey mixture and dried cherries. Mix until all dry ingredients are moist. Spread the mixture in a greased baking pan (9 x13). With the bottom of a measuring cup press the granola mixture into the pan and create a smooth, even surface. Bake the granola mixture for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool completely.

When completely cool flip granola onto a cutting board. With a sharp knife cut the granola into desired size bars. If you desire granola then you can crumbled with hands or place in a bag and crush with the back of a mug. Store in air tight container.

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VeggieGirl said...

There is something about the taste, texture, and overall quality of homemade granola bars that is just so appealing - yours look FANTASTIC!! Perfect fuel.

Forts said...

Can't wait to bag as many peaks as we can this summer as getting out into those mountains is always great but now with this new snack you made, it will be even better.

You also rubbed off on me and I had to post a 'food' blog of my own today after your inspiring style.


eatme_delicious said...

Yum these look so good! I've been wanting to make my own granola bars for months and months. Now that I have more free time in the summer I must do it. I like how this recipe uses peanut butter. I want to try out a recipe that uses a minimal amount of oil.

Kevin said...

Making your own granola bars sounds like fun and yours look great!

Trulie Scrumptious said...

Thank you so much for this yummy looking recipe...

Mansi Desai said...

there's nothign like homemade granola!! and I love yours, as they look more colorful:) I generally make mine with nuts and figs.

Dana said...

I prefer chewier granola bars too, but these really do look delicious. I've been meaning to make my own granola bars for ages.

Melanie said...

Yum! I love homemade granola bars - they taste so much better then store-bought! In my recipe, I use sweetened condensed milk instead of honey and peanut butter.

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