A big thanks goes out to Nature Valley, Quaker Oats, and even Kudos (please don’t deny you’ve ever had a Kudos) for supplying us with hand held snacks during our school days. We shoveled these bars down like on tomorrow. When you were a kid, you didn’t think too much about high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated soybean oil, but occasionally those sneaky buggers did find their way into some of your snack foods. Including some granola bars. Considering what actually goes into a granola bar, it’s nice to know that you can whip them up anytime at home. And you can put whatever it is you want into them and leave whatever you want to avoid out of them. Like high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated soybean oil. Easy enough right? Right.
There are so many different ways to go with these bars. Any nut or seed, dried fruit, sweetener, etc. would probably work. As for ours, the spicy ginger adds a little kick, while the honey and peanut butter mellow everything out. We used Trader Joe’s orange flavored cranberries for extra kick!
Note: Maybe you shouldn’t let the cranberries and raisins sit on top, so they swell and get a little burntish due to heat exposure. And perhaps it’s best to wait at least two hours for them to cool before you pull them out of the dish, or you’ll end up with a few cracks down the middle. Kinda like we did. Just saying!
Orange Ginger Granola Bars – 12-16 bars
5 cups oats, toasted
1 cup coconut, toasted
1/2 cup wheat germ, toasted
1/2 cup sesame seeds, toasted
1/2 cup almonds, toasted
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, plus extra for pan
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
Juice and zest of 1 large orange
1. In a large bowl, mix oats, coconut, wheat germ, both seeds, almonds, and cardamom.
2. On the stove, heat vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, honey, butter, grapeseed oil, orange juice and zest, peanut butter and brown sugar until all sugar has dissolved.
3. Pour warm sugar mixture over oat mixture. Combine until well incorporated.
4. Add crystallized ginger, cranberries, coconut and raisins.
5. Line a 9″ x 13: baking dish with parchment paper. Lightly butter the parchment paper (or spray with cooking spray).
6. Spread granola into dish evenly. Bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until granola has darkened in color.
7. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars. Or just break into crumbly bits!
Click HERE for the printable recipe.