Sunday, January 24, 2010

Granola Bars for Someone Sweet

Ray's mom has a cousin named Anna. She and her husband John live in the East Bay near his parents, and we see them from time to time at family gatherings. John is well-educated, smart, and well-traveled. He knows a lot about wine, and loves to share his knowledge with us when we see him. Anna is more quiet and I don't know as much about her as John- which should be remedied, because Anna is sweet and friendly.

One thing we have in common is birthdays within ten days of each other. Anna's is January 19th, mine is the 29th. When we visit my in-laws this January, Anna and John will be there for a double birthday dinner.

The couple follows a near-completely vegan diet, so for a healthy baked birthday treat, I reached for these granola bars.

. . . and the first natural sunlight to photograph by in more than a week!

These treats are naturally vegan- *almost (honey).* They are crunchy, and sweet but not too sweet. I like crunchy almond butter, but swap any nut butter for an endless combo of flavor possibilities. If I ever get my hands on some hazelnut butter (got my eye out), I'll be giving that a try immediately. Add some chopped nuts for a little texture if your nut butter is smooth.

Granola Bars

makes 15 squares

2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup crunchy almond butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix the oats and coconut together on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes until golden. While the mixture is in the oven, measure out the almond butter and honey into a small bowl, and nuke it for 30 seconds or so to loosen them up. Add the wheat germ, vanilla, and salt and mix well until smooth and combined.

When the oat mixture is done, remove from the oven and pour into a large mixing bowl. Add the wet ingredients and start mixing away. Add the dried cranberries and continue mixing until everything is incorporated.

Pour into a 9x13 baking dish. Wet your hands a bit and press the mixture into the dish until it's well squished- press down as much as you can!
Bake for 25 minutes until golden-brown and fragrant. Remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes before slicing into 15 squares. Place on a baking rack to cool completely. Wrap with plastic wrap and store in the freezer.



Erica said...

Girl! These looks so yummy. I need to make them for Josh. Just an FYI- not vegan though because of the honey :(

Kelly said...

Yum. You made me realize it's been a long time since I've baked up granola bars. I routinely bake care packages for the troops so I may have to bake up some of these for that.