For the first few weeks after my children were born I struggled with the fact that (a) I was ravenous ALL THE TIME (probably because I was breastfeeding) and (b) I only ever had one hand to eat with, because the other was constantly taken up with holding our new little bundle of joy. So when friends of mine had their babies, I wanted to make them some food that was delicious, nutritious, and could be eaten with one hand without spilling too much on their baby’s head.
It was then that I came across this amazing recipe on Smitten Kitchen. I made a few tweaks (reduced the salt content, switched the white sugar to brown, added flax seed, and removed the corn syrup) and ended up with the most delicious granola bars. They are pretty calorific due to the nuts, butter, and almond butter, but they are extremely nutrient dense, making them perfect for postpartum moms, post-workout snacks, and, well, anyone in moderation.
So here is my version of the recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen.
Deliciously Wholesome Granola Bars
1 2/3 cups quick cook rolled oats
1/2 cup soft brown sugar
1/3 cup blended oats (blend into a flour consistency)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup ground flax seed
3 cups chopped nuts, seeds, and dried fruits of your choosing
1/4 cup almond butter
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon water
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Combine the oats, blended oats, salt, cinnamon, nuts, and dried fruit in a large bowl.
3. Combine the butter, syrup, and water in another bowl.
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, add the almond butter, and stir to combine.
5. Line an 8″ x 8″ baking pan with parchment paper, pour in the mixture, and press it down.
6. Place another piece of parchment paper over the top, and use a book or another baking pan to press down on the mixture.
7. Remove the top piece of parchment paper (but save it), and place the granola bar mixture in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the edges are brown.
8. Remove from the oven, place the spare piece of parchment paper on top of the granola bars, and press down again with a book or baking pan.
9. Allow the granola bars to cool completely in the pan before cutting (this is crucial otherwise they will crumble and fall apart).
10. Once the bars are completely cool, remove them from the pan and cut into squares.
UPDATE – Perfect for the freezer
I am in the process of looking for healthy homemade snacks and meals that I can freeze in large batches, and defrost as individual portions for my children. I tried it with these granola bars and it worked perfectly. This is how I did it:
1. Cut the bars into individual portions.
2. Wrap each bar with a small amount of plastic wrap.
3. Place them in a ziploc bag flat in the freezer.
4. When you want to eat one, take it out, leave it to defrost for about 1 hour, and enjoy.