Whenever we need a change of attitude around our nest, I try to get the little birdie involved in a cooking, baking or gardening project. Yesterday was a no-nap (read: edgy) day so we made another big batch of our new favorite granola bars and a huge batch of guacamole for dinner. We also picked a bunch of cherry tomatoes as well as all the rest of the leaves off a basil plant to make pesto today. Whew. It got us through the sleepless afternoon without any major meltdowns, yesssss. How do you manage those no-nap days, lovelies?
Since I’ve made several successful batches of these granola bars now, I thought I would share them with you. They are based on a recipe I found here. One great thing about them is that they are pretty versatile. Have some dried fruit or nuts? Sure, throw it in. Don’t have vanilla, but want to throw in some cardamom? Sure. They’re simple and delicious. And great to have a healthy-ish, portable snack on hand.
Back to School Granola Bars
2 1/2 C. quick oats
1/2 C. crisp rice cereal
1/2 C. mini chocolate chips
1/2 C. dried cherries
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C. canola oil
1/4 C. honey (or maple syrup or even brown rice syrup)
1/2 tsp. vanilla or some other kind of spice (we like cinnamon or cardamom)
* optional: ground flax seed and/or wheat germ (we use 3 heaping Tbs. or so of each).
Mix all ingredients (except for the chocolate chips and dried cherries – keep those out for now) really well. If your mixture seems dry after mixing then you may need to add a little more honey – a bit at a time – until it starts to clump up a little.
When your granola mixture gets to this point–not too wet, not too dry–then stir in the chocolate chips and dried cherries.
Line a 9X13 (or so) glass or metal pan with parchment or waxed paper and let some of it hang over the edges so you can use them as handles to lift out. Pour in granola mixture and spread evenly. Ready to bake!
350 degrees for 17-22 minutes.
They are ready to remove from oven when the tops are golden. If they don’t cook long enough they may not hold their shape. If they cook too long they will get too dry.
Important! Let them cool in the pan for a day or overnight. Really! Then lift out of the pan, flip over onto a cutting board and slice into pieces. I then wrap them in waxed paper and keep them in a sealed container.