Many years ago, I wrote a weekly column for the Food Network’s blog. It was called The Weekender and was designed to feature the kind of project cooking best tackled on a Saturday or Sunday. I cooked a whole bunch of things that were way out of my comfort zone during the three year period I had that gig and I learned a heck of a lot along the way.
I often go back and reference select elements of the dishes I made during that run (the spice rub on this chicken is brilliant and I use it all the time). Another technique that I’ve used and adapted a lot over the years is this one for granola bars.
It comes from an episode of Sunny Anderson’s show, Home Made in America, in which she searched out secrets from home cooks. The thing that sets this granola bar apart from others I’ve made is that it results in a nicely chewy, not-too-sweet, easy to eat snack.
The one thing I do differently from the recipe as written is that I don’t bake the bars. Once I press them into the pan, I just let them cool until they firm up. This makes it a good one for summer, because the time the oven is on is minimal.
Once the slab is cool, I cut them into bars, wrap them up in pieces of parchment paper (often using the same sheet that I lined the pan with) and then tuck them into a big jar.
They keep a couple weeks on the counter and even longer in the freezer. Oh, and if you need to avoid nuts because of allergies, omit the almonds, add more sunflower seeds, and proceed as directed.
Homemade Granola Bars with Nuts and Seeds
- 2 cups/210 g rolled oats
- 2/3 cup/100 g slivered almonds
- 1/3 cup/50 g sunflower seeds
- 1/3 cup/40 g pumpkin seeds
- 1/3 cup/20 g dried coconut
- 1/3 cup/50 g flax meal
- 2/3 cup/225 g honey
- 2 tablespoons/30 g coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup/50 g raisins
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C. Line a quarter sheet pan or 9x13 inch baking pan with parchment paper so that it hangs over the edge of the pan on two sides.
- Combine the oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut, and flax meal in a bowl and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to a large, rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the nuts and seeds smell fragrant.
- While the oat mixture toasts, combine the honey, coconut and vanilla in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, until it turns a dark, copper color (if you like to use a thermometer, you don't want to go beyond 250F).
- Put the toasted oats, nuts, and seeds in a large bowl. Add the raisins, nutmeg, and salt and stir to combine. Pour in the honey and oil mixture and stir until everything is evenly coated.
- Scrape the batter into the parchment-lined pan and pat it out with the bake of a spatula into an even layer. Let the slab cool to room temperature. Cut into 16 bars. Wrap them in plastic or more parchment paper and store in a zip top plastic bag or a large, glass jar.
- They will keep at room temperature for about two weeks. For longer storage, freeze.