Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Granola Bars

When I first moved to this far away place and was figuring out where to grocery shop and what food to buy, I ate a lot of Nature Valley granola bars.  They were easy and familiar.  And, since the ingredients and nutrition information were in Arabic, I didn't even have to know how bad they were for me.  Ignorance can be bliss, or at least convenient.  But, deep down, I knew there was probably a truckload of sugar in them and little nutritional value.  That's when I started making these yummy breakfast bites.  And, as much as I love those guys, I thought it was time to mix it up and have another breakfast-y item in the mix that I can grab for an easy, at-school snack, which is where this recipe comes in.  

I was drawn to this recipe because of the sesame seeds, which I love, but a little deterred by the dates, since they can be pretty sweet.  Surprisingly, the dates really made these; they gave the granola bars a nice chewy texture.  I listed the chocolate chips as optional in case you want them to be a little more breakfast-like.

I love these granola bars.  So much better than store-bought and full of good, hearty, natural ingredients. Thank you, David Lebovitz, for another winner of a recipe.

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup whole almonds
  • 1 cup pitted and diced dates
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1/3 cup dried sour cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup smooth natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Line the bottom of an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.  

Spread the oats and sesame seeds on a baking sheet and toast for 10-12 minutes, until they are slightly browned.  

Scrape them into a large bowl. 

Spread the almonds on the baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes.  

Let cool, then coarsely chop and add the almonds to the oats and sesame seeds.  

Add dates, chocolate chips (if using), cherries, and peanuts to the bowl.  

Heat the peanut butter, honey, and salt in a small saucepan, stirring until warm, but not boiling.  

Pour the peanut butter and honey over the mixture in the bowl and stir until completely incorporated.  Use your hands if you want.  

Transfer the mixture to the pan and pat down so it's as flat as possible.  (Use a tart tamper if you have one.) 

Freeze the granola bars for 30 minutes.  

Cut and store in the refrigerator.  

Source:  David Lebovitz

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