Thursday, March 31, 2011

Maple Cranberry Granola Bars

Wowza! My last 24 hours have been a whirlwind! Last night we went to a local bar to watch two talented Canadian country artists: Gord Bamford and Aaron Pritchett. If you've never heard of these two and you love country music, look them up ~ they're both doing really well on the country scene and they put on a darn good show! The venue was awesome, we were there with great friends and we had a great time. Unfortunately, it was a really late night and I got about 4 hours of sleep before I had to get up and get moving for work this morning. I am slowly coming to the realization that I'm not 21 anymore and 4 hours just ain't gonna cut it when I'm expected to be a functioning adult for an entire day. I love being in my 30s, but there are some things about getting older that I just can't come to terms with :-)

When I got home from work today, I decided to try my hand at homemade granola bars. I saw a recipe on Kris's website earlier this week and I've been thinking up my own recipe ever since. This is my first attempt and I think I did a pretty good job. There are so many variations you can do when making granola bars; I'm already making notes on an apple granola bar that I am going to try in the very near future.

Maple Cranberry Granola Squares
I made 8 bars, but next time I will be making them into 12 squares. This recipe makes very dense granola bars and I found the bars to be more than what I would want in a serving.

2 c. oats
1/4 c. walnuts, finely chopped
1/3 c. dried cranberries
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tbsp ground flax seeds
1/3 c. almond milk
1/3 c. maple syrup
1/4 c natural almond butter (or your favourite nut butter)
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, walnuts, cranberries, cinnamon and flax seeds.

I grind my own flax seeds. I decided to add flax at the last minute and it was a perfect addition!

It was already looking pretty promising!!

In a separate smaller bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well.

Let your mixture sit for 5 - 7 minutes.

Transfer your mixture to a flat surface that you can cut on. Press the mixture out into a square. The bars should be approximately 1/2" thick.

Cut into 12 squares (like I said above, I did 8 bars but because these are so dense, I found them to be too big for one serving).

I like my kitchen tools to be able to multi-task. A pizza cutter works great for cutting the bars.

Transfer your squares to the baking sheet. Bake for 16 - 18 minutes. You will want to gently flip the bars after 10 minutes of baking so that both sides get nice and golden brown. I like a granola bar that is crunchy on the outside but a little chewy inside. You can adjust your baking time to suit your tastes because these are good crunchy or chewy. NOTE: The granola bars are soft & chewy the next day. They still taste great, but I am going to do some work to see if I can't master a crunchy bar.

Remove from oven and let cool.

When I tasted my first bar, I thought they were a little boring on their own, so I decided to fancy them up with some chocolate glazes (doesn't everything taste better with your fave chocolate ~ I certainly think so :-)!

I drizzled some with dark chocolate (can you say yum?!) and my absolute favourite was a white chocolate glaze sprinkled with unsweetened coconut. They were delish!! I have a feeling a chocolate nut butter glaze would also rock these bars....see what I mean, the possibilities are limitless!

I am super-excited to pack one of these bars for my post-workout snack tomorrow. I just love delicious, homemade snacks ~ don't you?

What are your favourite type of granola bars? Do you have a favourite mix-in? What about topping?

Now I'm off to catch up on my beauty sleep, so I wish you all a good night!


1 comment:

  1. Yum! These look delicious! It must have taken a lot of willpower not to just eat the almond milk-butter-maple syrup mixture -- that looks heavenly!

    I love making granola bars, with dates, wanuts, raisins, and pumpkin seeds. :drool: