I am a snacker. If I don’t eat every few hours, you probably don’t want to hang out with me because I transform into an angry, obnoxious, whiny little brat. Maybe I shouldn’t admit all that. But I just did. The point is, I know my snacks.
I also like to hike. Hiking is one of those activities that totally counts as a super-workout, but since you get to stop and take pictures and eat snacks in the middle, it’s a lot more fun. And when you’re hiking, good snacks are a must.
Last weekend we had planned to go on a pretty epic hike that would have taken basically the entire day. So I came prepared. Let’s ignore for a second the fact that we ended up going on a much shorter hike which got cut even shorter because, well, it was pouring rain for pretty much the entire hike. But. Despite all that, we still managed to bust into these granola bars, and holy moly granoly! I should stop talking now so that you can go make these already. Seriously! They are so ding dang delicious I couldn’t even believe it. Plus, I’m pretty sure a square (or two) could totally qualify as a meal in a pinch. There is so much stuff in there, and the best part is you can use whatever combinations of nuts, fruit, chocolate…whatever. It’s totally customize-able. So I beg you. Whether you are planning an epic hike or you’re just craving a little (huge) something sweet, I’m basically begging you to make these. You’ll thank me later.
Granola Bars (adapted from Smitten Kitchen. Of course. Sigh, she’s so my hero..)
pssst. by the way. If you use gluten free oats, these are completely gluten free. And if you sub in Earth Balance or canola oil for the butter, [and use maple syrup] they are vegan too. Hooray!
- 2 cups quick rolled oats
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (I actually might cut this down even more next time; my bars turned out pretty sweet. I think I’ll try again with 1/4 cup sugar, and maybe even eventually leave it out altogether. I’ll update to let you know if it works!)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts (I used 1/2 cup each of walnuts, pecans, peanuts and sliced almonds plus 1/3 cup each of two different random dried fruit mixes we had, and chocolate chunks. Okay, I probably used more than 1/3 cup of chocolate..)
- 1/3 cup peanut butter or other nut butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon water
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line an 8X8 baking pan with parchment paper so that it overhangs on two sides. Grease paper with butter or cooking spray.
- Scoop out 1/3 cup of oats and blitz them in a blender or food processor to a fine powder. Ta-da! You just made your own oat flour! Congrats! Also, you probably want to toast your nuts in the oven for 10 minutes or so so they get all golden and smell nice. I crushed mine up a bit before mixing them in, but I’m not going to lie I loved how chunky they were.
- Stir together all dry ingredients, including dried fruits and nuts (and chocolate. you know you are putting in chocolate). In a separate bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients (peanut butter, honey, melted butter, vanilla, and water).
- Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix until everything is coated evenly. Dump into your prepared baking pan and press into pan evenly.
- Bake 35-40 minutes or until edges are nice and brown. I let mine go a bit long, but I didn’t mind the crispy edges. When you take them out, the center won’t feel done, but as it cools it will all come together.
- Allow to cool completely (like, totally completely. I refrigerated mine overnight) before cutting into nine ginormous squares. Bring them on your next hike, or just bag them up and keep them in the fridge for the days you don’t feel like making a lunch!