I’ve been meaning to try my hand at these for a long time, but it kept slipping my mind. What can I say? I’m easily distracted by recipes containing cheeses, decadent soups, and fancy sandwiches. Granola? Ain’t nobody got time for that!
I’ve learned that the latter statement is very untrue, however. I was floored by how delicious these were, and they really took no time at all. So, no excuses – everyone got time for that.
My favourite thing about these homemade granola bars is that you can get creative with flavours and ingredients. Once you’ve got your granola (which is basically just toasted oats), simply pick a fruit, a nut, a seed, a natural sweetener if you wish, and a “glue”. (By glue, I mean something to keep everything together. Like peanut butter, or a mashed ripened banana. Please don’t use glue…)
You can also choose weather or not you toast the oats and nuts. I always opt for toasting, because I love that toasty flavour. The walnut was my nut of choice.
Okay, so here are my chosen ingredients.
My fruit – funny story, haha nervous laugh hahaha. I purchased a package of dates, and I was really excited about them. I thought they’d add a nice natural sweetness, soft texture, all the while helping to act as a glue to keep everything together. But…they were hard as rocks. Thanks, supermarket, for being on top of that…
So, I guess you can say that I had a bad date this weekend?
I didn’t have any other dried fruits lying around, so I had to skip the fruit. [Insert frustrated hand gestures here].
For my seed, I chose pumpkin seeds because it’s fall, and I’m a basic white girl, and apparently basic white girls love “pumpkin everything” in the fall. Truthfully though, I bought a big bag of hulled, pre-roasted and salted pumpkin seeds at a bulk market the other day; they are so delicious, I just couldn’t help myself. I’m also a huge sucker for the sweet and salty combination.
For my natural sweetener, I used honey. Agave nectar is another great choice, and maple syrup also works. I just wasn’t in a maple mood.
For my “glue”, I went with all natural cashew butter. Guys, THIS STUFF. It is sinfully delicious.
By heating this up in a pan on low with the honey, you create the perfect “glue”.
- 2 cups of rolled oats
- 1/2 cup of hulled pumpkin seeds, roasted and salted (salt is optional)
- 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup of organic honey
- 1/4 cup of all natural cashew butter
- 2 tablespoons of psyllium husks (optional)
- 2 tablespoons of ground chia seeds (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spread the oats and nuts on a baking sheet. Spread everything out evenly so that you get even toasting all around. A few pieces may toast a bit more than others, but that offers a variation of flavour and colour, so I don’t mind that.
Bake for approx. 7 minutes or until the oats and nuts turn tanned and give off a nutty aroma.
Occasionally shift the oats and nuts around with a spatula to prevent burning.
I have never spoken about nuts so much in one sitting before. Obviously I haven’t lived.
I would highly suggest not using oils when toasting your oats. The oats can absorb the oil, which can affect the flavour and texture of whatever you use them in. Nobody wants a soggy, oily granola bar.
Once your oats and nuts are toasted, set them aside to cool.
In a pan or skillet, combine the cashew butter and honey. With the heat on low, mix until the two are combined and have a smooth consistency. Stir constantly to avoid burning. This should only take approx. 3 minutes, if that.
Toss the oats, nuts, pumpkin seeds, psyllium husks, and ground chia seeds into a large bowl, and pour the cashew butter and honey mixture into the mix.
With a spatula or wooden spoon, stir and mix thoroughly to ensure that the “glue” picks up all of the ingredients. You basically want everything to clump together.
Place some parchment paper in an 11 x 7 inch baking dish (or smaller, if you want thicker bars).
Pour the mixture into the pan, on top of the parchment paper, and spread the ingredients out evenly, flattening and pressing down to secure everything.
Pop this in the fridge for 30 mins, or the freezer for 15-20 minutes, so that the mixture solidifies. Then take them out, cut them up, and they’re good to go! You can also just crumble it and make granola crumble, which can be used on cereal or eaten with yogurt – it’s delicious, no matter how you eat it.