In a strange, rather quick turn of events, my husband and I bought two new cars last week. Even stranger, we went from a lifted Toyota Tundra and a Volvo wagon (guess which one was mine!) to two, yes TWO Toyota Priuses. Or is it Prius’? Priuii?
It’s funny that slowly, but surely I’m becoming someone I never thought I’d be. I’m someone who makes her own cleaning and beauty products, grows her own produce, buys fresh, organic eggs from a friend who raises chickens, and now this: a hybrid car. Who am I?
It’s also funny that when you buy a Prius, people give you crap about it. Some good friends of ours (you know who you are!) jokingly asked if instead of new car smell, the Prius came with dirty hippy smell. I replied that you get your choice of Dirty Hippie or Patchouli. Touche. I poke fun at myself, too, though. To the photo of my new car that I posted on Facebook I added #IMakeMyOwnGranola. You know, because I do.
And that’s what I’m sharing with you today, my recipe for granola bars. “Why on earth,” you might ask, “would I need to make my own granola bars? Aren’t those ones in the store healthy enough?” The answer, sweet friends, is not really. Many of us are in the battle to cut out more processed foods from our diet. Even the popular granola bars that claim to be 100% natural contain sweeteners like high maltose corn syrup, maltodextrin, and high fructose corn syrup — 3 highly processed ingredients that do not exist in nature. Shame on you, Nature Valley!
I found this recipe in one of our favorite recipe books The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen when my dad was sick. The author, Rebecca Katz calls them “Anytime Bars” because when going through cancer treatments, you never know when hunger will strike, and you want to be ready to take advantage of those moments to nourish yourself. I find that to be true, and I’m not in cancer treatment. She also includes a list of variations at the end, so if the bars don’t sound like something you or your family would like, you can definitely switch up the nuts, the flour, the dates, to suit your own tastes. These are so easy and so worth the time. I hope that you try them!
Oh, and buy a Prius. And some patchouli. Who are you???
1 cup raw pecan halves
1 cup whole raw almonds
2 Tbsp spelt flour (look for Bob’s Red Mill brand in the health food section)
2 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp finely ground flax seeds
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup pitted dates, quartered (preferably Medjool)
1 cup unsulfured dried apricots, cut in half
5 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly oil a 9-inch square pan.
Spread the pecans in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and toast for 7-10 minutes, until aromatic and slightly browned. Watch them carefully, as they can burn easily. Repeat process for almonds. Turn oven down to 325.
Combine the spelt flour, all-purpose flour, flaxseeds, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a food processor and process for 5 seconds to combine. Add the pecans and almonds and pulse 5 times to coarsely chop the nuts. Add the oats, dates, and apricots and pulse 10 to 15 times, until the mixture is well chopped but still coarse.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg, maple syrup, and vanilla together until thoroughly combined. Add the fruit and nut mixture and use your hands to mix thoroughly, being sure to separate any clumps of fruit. Spread the mixture in the oiled baking pan in an even layer and bake for 25-30 minutes, until set and golden brown. Don’t overbake, or the bars will be too dry. Let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, and then cut into 25 squares. Leave the bars in the pan until completely cool so they’ll hold together when you remove them.
- Use walnuts instead of pecans
- Add ¼ cup dried cranberries, cherries, blueberries, raisins, or currants when mixing together at the end.
- Add 1 Tbsp of grated orange zest when mixing together at the end.
- Add 2 Tbsp of sesame seeds when mixing together at the end.
- Add ¼ cup of unsweetened shredded coconut when mixing together at the end.
- For a gluten-free version, substitute a gluten-free muffin mix for the spelt flour and all-purpose flour. While oats don’t contain gluten, they’re often processed alongside wheat, so if your sensitivity to gluten is extreme, be sure to use Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oats.