New Here? Read The Story behind the Box

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Chewy Granola Bars

This recipe, I must admit, has nothing to do with vegetables. I know I am supposed to be the box lady and write all about the fresh fruits and veggies I muddle through   deal with   enjoy from my big box of Abundant Harvest Organics each week. But it seems to me that the one recipe I end up giving to friends more often than any other is this recipe for chewy granola bars. 

I wish I could remember where I got it. I feel bad that I am not giving credit where credit is due. It was a long long time ago, and I can't seem to find it on the internet anymore. 

At one point I sent this recipe to a friend through her facebook inbox long long ago, and I have no idea where else I might have saved it. That means that every time I make them (although I pretty much have it memorized, I make them so often), or every time someone asks me to give the recipe to them, I go get it from facebook.  I then have to search through my inbox to find the message thread that I started over a year ago. It's one of those "first-world problems," no?

Well, lucky for me, I have a first world solution. I will put the recipe here. Instead of searching through my facebook archives every week or so, I will search through my blog archives! Aha! I got you, internet!

Why do I share this recipe so often? Because it is awesome!! These granola bars are easy to make, and last quite a while (shelf-life, that is. They don't last long with my kids around eating them). Plus, they travel well in lunch boxes and backpacks. And although they do contain quite a bit of sweetener and butter, I feel better that it is honey and brown sugar and butter instead of corn syrup and hydrogenated corn oil and preservatives. Or whatever that stuff is that we aren't supposed to be eating.

Plus... and this is no lie... my kids prefer these to every single kind of granola bar we have ever purchased. And believe me, we have purchased quite a plethora of granola bar varieties.

This recipe makes 24 medium-sized bars (although you can cut them larger and make fewer). I wrap them up in snack-sized bags, re-usable snack bags, or plastic wrap, depending on what I have clean and available. By individually wrapping them from the start, it makes it easy to pack a lunchbox or a picnic. They last a couple of weeks in the pantry, or you can freeze some.

Chewy Granola Bars

2 cups oats
3/4 cup wheat germ
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup cashews, crushed
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
4 Tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Kosher salt

Stir together the oats, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, and cashews on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast them in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes, stirring twice or more.

Meanwhile, mix the remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer.

Stir it all together, making sure the wet ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the dry ingredients, so it all sticks.

Line the bottom of your pan (I used a jelly roll pan but you could use a cake pan. They would just be thicker.) with waxed paper, and spray with cooking spray. Press the granola mixture into the pan. Put another piece of waxed paper on top, and press it all well so it all sticks. I use a rolling pin to make it all even and well pressed, but you can just use your hands.  Peel off the top waxed paper as soon as you finish pressing the bars, so it doesn't get stuck.

Let it all cool, and then invert the bars onto a cutting mat. Peel off the remaining waxed paper and cut into bars.

You can wrap them individually, or you can keep them in an airtight container. If you plan to store them all together, layer parchment paper or waxed paper in between the bars.