Have I mentioned my boys' (yes, all three of them!) recent obsession with Alton Brown's show Good Eats?? They watch it on Netflix and, honestly, I'm impressed with his ability to inspire my crew into the kitchen. My husband actually set foot in the kitchen and made A.B.'s Mint Julep!
They were all watching an episode that included granola bars and protein bars and asked, "Can we try?" Of course! I'm always looking for ways to eliminate packaged and processed foods from my shopping routine. Homemade granola bars seemed a perfect project as we head back to school this week.
adapted from Alton Brown's Granola Bars recipe: here
My husband is doing a gluten-free and dairy-free experiment, so I skipped the wheat germ, opting for flaxseed meal. I added in chia seeds and hemp seeds. I also subbed in olive oil for the butter. But I stayed true to the original process and will be making this weekly, I think.
- 2 C old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 C sunflower seeds (with shells)
- 1 C sliced almonds
- 1/2 C flaxseed meal
- 1 T chia seeds
- 1 T hemp seeds
- 1/2 C raw honey
- 1/4 C organic granulated sugar
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 t vanilla bean paste
- 1 t pure almond extract
- 1/2 t kosher salt
- 1-1/2 C mixed dried fruits (we used dried cranberries, golden raisins, and chopped dried apricots)
Grease a square baking dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, and flaxseed. Place in the oven and toast for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes so nothing burns.
In the meantime, combine the honey, sugar, olive oil, vanilla paste, extract, and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Once the oat mixture is nicely toasted, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees F. Add the oat mixture to the honey mixture, fold in the dried fruit, and stir to combine.
Scoop mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down with the bottom of another baking dish or with your hands. Place in the oven to bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares. These will keep for about a week in an airtight container.