Incredibly Versatile Granola Bars.

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Waiting for a call to schedule a job interview is probably one of the more stressful waiting games I’ve played. Last week, the manager of the bakery (yes, bakery!) I applied to told me he’d call me back yesterday. Yesterday, I missed his call because I was driving and couldn’t call him back until a few hours later. When I finally called him back that evening, he wasn’t there. After waiting all morning and part of the early afternoon to see if he’d return my message, I called him instead, and left another message. Needless to say, I’m a little stressed. Especially because I hate talking on the telephone.

Stressful situations call for stress-baking.

There’s something comforting about nearly upsetting everything in my cupboards as I root around for measuring cups and mixing bowls. The familiar rhythm of pouring and stirring is comparable to giving a fussing child his favorite pacifier. It’s a sort of sedative, which is why I instinctively reach for a cook book in times of anxiety.

Enter the glorious homemade granola bar.

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Quaker Chewy granola bars have never been my favorite. I know, I know, I must have malformed tastebuds or something. Honestly, they’re not as flavorful or satisfying as, say, a Kashi bar. Maybe that’s the health freak in me preferring whole almonds over weird crispy things (what ingredients make up a Chewy bar, anyways?), but I honestly think it’s just the fact I prefer my granola bars to be…well, chewy. For real chewy. With identifiable ingredients.

The great thing about homemade granola bars is that you can add basically anything you want – different types of dried fruit, nuts and seeds (pecans, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds…the list goes on, and on, and on), flavorings and spices, nut butter, honey or maple syrup…it goes on forever. If it’s small enough to mix in, go for it.

The cinnamon comes through perfectly, and for once, I can say that I wouldn’t add any more. Unless you prefer to up the cinnamon. The more, the merrier.

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Perfect for breakfast (I’ve been crumbling mine up like cereal & eating it with milk), snack, post-workout, whatever. The world is your…granola bar.

Homemade Granola Bars
Based off this recipe
Makes 12-16, depending on the size you cut them

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup dried fruit of your choosing (I used golden raisins and mixed berries)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, optional
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, optional
  • 3/4 cup nuts and seeds (I used pecans and almonds)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 1/2 x 11 baking dish with parchment paper or grease it. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar together until creamy. Add egg and beat well. Stir in flax and honey.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, cinnamon, and baking soda; stir into creamed mixture until just blended.
  4. Stir in fruit, nuts, and other add-ins.
  5. Press firmly into the baking dish. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until middle is set and edges are lightly browned.
  6. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Devour.
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