Most of our friends (with and without children) are always looking for healthy, portable, easy to assemble snacks. When I was pregnant with Emma, I was looking for the same. I ate many All Bran bars, blueberries, Babybel cheeses and baby cut carrots, and although it satisfied my need to eat constantly, I would have been happier to have a bit more variety.
I posted a granola recipe awhile back that is incredibly popular in our household and thought would be a great addition to our snack repertoire, but it is not exactly the neatest snack to eat unless you’re at a table, with some milk or yogurt in a bowl. Then, Emma had a playdate not too long ago where her friend’s mum brought some granola bars she made with her son. I tend to avoid granola bars mostly because the store-bought ones are usually loaded with sugar and nuts. But these were so delicious, loaded with so many healthy ingredients. Emma loved them. In fact, she enjoyed them so much, she asked for more of them after her friend left — and continued to ask about them for days afterward.
When thinking about what we (ok, I) would like best in a granola bar, I came up with a long list – chewy, but a little crispy, not too sweet, no nuts (for Emma’s sake), no butter, have dried fruit but preferably no raisins (although admittedly, you can use them if you so desire), and include some seeds. After a little poking around, it was clear that many recipes contain peanut butter or some sort of nut butter to help bind together the ingredients, which I was hoping to avoid. So, using my trusty granola recipe as a starting point and Dinner With Julie’s chewy granola bar recipe, I was on my way.
I’ve made this recipe at least half a dozen times in the past two weeks and after a few tweaks, it’s now at a point where we’ve found the right formula. (Update: May 2012 – Many batches of granola bars have brought us to a new combination – reducing the cranberries slightly and adding chocolate chips. Also, eliminating the canola oil and adding coconut oil instead. Indescribably delicious!)
Tips and Suggestions:
- Feel free to substitute whatever dried fruit strikes your fancy. We’re trying apricots and dates next.
- Try to be patient before cutting into the bars. If you cut them too soon, they’ll crumble apart. Not to worry though – all is not lost – it just means you’ll have some delicious granola to have over your yogurt in the morning.