I've never really liked granola bars. Growing up I ate a few during snack time, for sure, (my school was, after all, more or less American) but that was mostly because they always came with a thin coating of dark chocolate. Most of the time I found granola bars too sweet, or too sticky – neither situation is, I tell you, no minor annoyance in a country filled to the brink with flying insects. Instead I just tried to avoid them, as best I could, for nineteen years. That's a long time.
But then – because you know, to quote Orangette, there's always a but then – I began working again a couple of days ago, and realised I needed to fill my lunch box again. You forget these things when you're off backpacking on the other side of the world. Usually I'd go for a pasta salad and fresh focaccia, but I started a new job and needed a new lunch box menu. Besides, the thought of kneading focaccia doughs simply didn't appeal (gasp!) after a long shift. And so, completely out of the blue, I had a craving for granola bars (and beef noodles too, come to think of it.) It totally dumbfounded me.
The last time I had a granola bar was two years ago, in Philadelphia, of all places, when a sticky Quaker bar with chocolate chips was all that stopped my blood sugar level from dropping, and me from fainting. I could've eaten anything with sugar at that point. But despite my complete lack of successful granola bar history, I decided to give it a go, make a batch and bring some to work. If anything they'd at least give me a rush of energy, so badly needed at times.
The recipe is adapted from Orangette's recipe, which again is adapted from Smitten Kitchen, who in turn adapted it from King Arthur's Flour. Don't let the picture put you off. The bars turned out great, really ruddy wonderful. They were, in fact, very, very good, and I also like to think of them as healthy because of the bits and bobs of goodies packed inside. High sugar content!, you say? Doesn't matter. It's still healthy :)
I used a little too much butter when I made these, so I cut the butter content down about 30 g. when I wrote down the recipe. I omitted the peanut butter in the original recipe (I rarely stock peanut butter, and was in no mood to buy a new jar at eight in the morning), and replaced it with butter and walnut oil. You can replace 50 g. butter and the walnut oil with 85 g. peanut butter, if you like.
160 g. (2 cups) oats
30-35 g. (1/3 cup) oat flour
100 g. (½ cup) sugar
110 g. (1 cup) slivered almonds
25 g. (½ cup) coconut shaves
85 g. (½ cup) chocolate chips
40 g. (¼ cup) raisins
½ tsp. very fine salt (such as fleur de sel)1 tsp. vanilla extract
120 g. (6 tbsp.) honey
1 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. walnut oil
120 g. (about 1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1.Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F). Grease a square 20 cm (8 inch) baking pan. Place a slightly smaller square of parchment paper in the bottom of the baking pan. Lightly grease the paper as well.
2.In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together. Add the liquids and mix well. Transfer to prepared pan, line with plastic wrap and gently press the dough down to fit the baking pan. Remove the plastic wrap, and bake for 25-30 minutes. The bars should be slightly brown on top, yet soft (they'll set as they cool down). Cut the bars into squares or rectangles, or any other shape of your choice.
A few notes...