Granola On The Go!

We are a busy, on the go family much like most of you.  Many days we are running out the door to make it somewhere on time.  In addition to that, I have the world's pickiest eater on my hands so it is a constant struggle challenge to find healthy foods that taste good and will be eaten by said world's pickiest eater.

I'm often on the look out for quick, nutritious, grab-able (is that a word??) snack/breakfast foods from muffins to cookies - so when I started seeing granola bar recipes pop up here and there I knew I wanted to give this a try.

I took a recipe I found at The Sensitive Pantry and reworked it a little to fit what we liked - or, more accurately, what I had in the cabinets! 

I'm really pleased with the results - the texture is part crunchy, part chewy - like a marriage between the Nature Valley bars that break your teeth and the Quaker bars that are more like cookies.  These are "almost" Vegan - I included honey, but if you're a true Vegan and want to substitute maple syrup or agave, that would definitely work.

Cherry and Carob (or Chocolate!) Chip Granola Bars
Printable Recipe

1 c. chopped dried cherries
1 1/2 c. rolled or quick oats
1/2 c. steel cut oats
1 c. sliced almonds
1/4 c. flax meal
2 tblsp hemp seeds (optional)
1/2 c. honey
3 tblsp coconut oil
1/8 - 1/4 c. packed brown sugar (to taste, I used closer to 1/8 c.)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
carob or chocolate chips

Take oatmeal, almonds, flax meal and hemp seeds and pour over parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly toasted.  Stir occasionally to keep from burning.

While toasting oatmeal mixture, melt honey, coconut oil, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan until sugar is completely dissolved.  Stir often.

Once oatmeal mixture is toasted, pour into bowl with chopped cherries.  Slowly add warm liquid mixture, stirring to mix completely.  Pour into a parchment paper lined dish (8.5x11 inches).  Top with carob or chocolate chips.  To press down, spray another piece of parchment paper with cooking spray and press down on the top of the granola mixture to flatten.

Bake in 300 degree oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown.  Let granola cool completely (several hours) before cutting into bars.
adapted from The Sensitive Pantry

Try not to eat the entire pan while taking pretty pictures to post.  Oh wait, that was just me.  The rest of you should store the bars in an airtight container!