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2 more days and I will officially be a college student!!! Not only that but I’ll be living in the greatest city in the world…NEW YORK NEW YORK!!!!!!!!!!!! In which case I should probably be packing right now and not writing about granola bars…

But, I hate packing and I love granola bars. Life goes on. And you know what, the whole reason I made the granola bars is so that I can bring them to college and have them for a healthy snack! It’s all a part of the process (or at least that’s what I tell my mom).

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Honestly though, the reason I made these is just because they are amazingly delicious. It’s oatmeal on steroids.  The mixture of the toasted oatmeal, nuts and seeds with the naturally sweet dried fruit just creates a perfect square block that’s not only filled with nutrients but is also definitely better than any packaged granola bar you can find.  

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And it’s all thanks to my good friend Alton Brown.  Well he’s not really my friend, he probably doesn’t even know I exist.  But, he does know my mom exists because he signed her copy of Good Eats 3 (his last edition of recipe books based off of his TV show Good Eats on the Food Network)!  This copy quickly slid through her hands and landed in my lap and I’m hooked. 

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Alton Brown is not like other chefs who just show you the ingredients, as interesting and creative as they may be, and the cooking method and give you your final product.  He doesn’t just tell you to sauté the onion, or toast the nuts, but he goes in depth and explains the science behind the dish.  He explains the chemical reactions which make the flavors and textures turn out the way they do.  He encourages people to get involved with the science of cooking.  He doesn’t stop with just normal, he takes it to the next level using burning coals as the heat source to bake bread or creating his very own natural outdoor fire in which he boils his soup. It’s like Paula Deen meets Bill Nye the Science Guy.  Win win.

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Ok so I discovered this recipe just this year. However, it’s so simple that I can already make it without the recipe.  And if you make double you will be able to have them for on-the-go healthy snacks for a long time.  If you’re going to college soon or if you’re disappointed with your store bought sticky, overly sweetened, over priced granola bars then give these a try.  Trust me, you’ll like them. And if you don’t then talk to Mr. Brown. Alton Brown.

Granola Bars

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats*
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (or flax seeds)
  • 1 cup almonds (or pecans, or walnuts)
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tb butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4-1/2 cup dried fruit

Directions

  1. Toast the first four ingredients, on a cookie sheet, in a pre-heated 350 degree F oven for 15 minutes
  2. While they are toasting, pour rest of ingredients (except for dried fruit) in a large pan
  3. Turn burner to medium heat and stir until just combined
  4. Combine toasted oat mixture with the honey mixture and stir in the dried fruit
  5. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F
  6. Butter or line a 13′ x 9′ pan with parchment paper and compress the mixture by pushing it down with the back of a spoon
  7. Place in the oven for 25 minutes
  8. Let cool completely**

Notes

  • * Make sure to use old fashioned rolled oats. The quick cooking oats will mush up and give the bars a weird texture
  • **I suggest letting it cool overnight. I have always taken it out right after the 25 minutes and let it sit and rest on the countertop after it was done.  This time I left it in the oven with the door ajar…bad idea. Too much moisture was lost leaving it too crunchy.  So def take it out right after 25 minutes is over.
  • For this batch I added coconut flakes.  Again, it make it too dry so I suggest if your add any extra dry ingredients like coconut or flaxseed meal or ground almonds, that you supplement it with more wet ingredients.  More butter or sugar (sugar counts as wet) or you could get creative and add an egg or yogurt… let me know if you come up with any cool ideas!
  • Lastly what I have done in the past which made it extra yummy is that I ground up half the nuts after they were toasted and then added them to the mixture.  The creamy nuts are then spread through the entire bar leaving you right on the corner of chewy and crunchy.  A good place to be.
  • Also, the original recipe calls for 1/2 tsp salt but I think the sweetness is more appreciated with a full tsp of salt or even more to your taste
  • Recipe adopted from Alton Brown, author of Good Eats 3.

Enjoy! 

 
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