Today, today was one of those days where I just had a, “What else can go wrong?!” kind of a day. Nothing major, nothing life threatening or dangerous happened, just a ton of little crappy things all on top of one another. You know those days? They’re no good. They’re horrible… But you know what’s not? Labor Day Weekend. Celebrating the end of summer with one last blow out. While our husbands go camp and shoot stuff in the woods for the next few days, a couple of my best girl pals and I are headed out to Hood River in the gorgeous Columbia River Gorge where we will be hiking, wine tasting, and most importantly, sleeping in a hotel. 😉We’re going to start Saturday morning with a super early 9 mile hike. The Gorge has one of the most beautiful hikes around and this way we can ‘earn’ all the wine we’ll be drinking after! So I decided to make these granola “bars” as hiking snacks! Especially because when Adrienne and I hike, we usually spend the entire time talking about food. Food we’ve eaten. Food we want to eat. Food we’re going to eat when we’re done with the hike. We like food.
I love our Homemade Granola and I’ve wanted to make granola bars for awhile. A hiking trip was the perfect excuse! So of course I turned to the Man, Alton Brown. But, since Alicia is our resident Vegan, I made them vegan friendly by substituting the little butter in Alton’s recipe with coconut oil. So I grabbed some oats, wheat germ, sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dried cherries, our homemade vanilla extract, honey, brown sugar, salt, and some blueberries I dried myself with Fairy Mona’s dehydrator!First, I toasted the oats, wheat germ, and all the nuts and seeds in the oven at 350º.While that toasted, I cooked down in a medium saucepan some dark brown sugar, honey, vanilla extract, and salt until all of the sugar was dissolved. Then, while the oats and seeds were done, I immediately transferred them into the sauce pan, mixed in all the honey sugar goodness, added the blueberries and cherries, and mixed it again really well so everything was coated with the honey and sugar. Then back into the oven!……and this happened. Just topping off the horrible, no good, very bad day.So, I said a few choice words and started again. Luckily I still had everything I needed and it was a pretty quick process. But, since I’d just broken our shallow baking dish (sad face), I had to use a deeper one. Which, in hindsight, was not the best choice. Next time I’ll look around for the actual correct 9X9 banking dish so it’ll make nice thin bars like Alton made. These were a little too thick, hence the “bars”; they’re more like bites / crumbles / falling apart bars. Haha.So Granola “Bars” round two! Even though they weren’t quite bars and instead more like misshapen balls / bites, they are still pretty darn good.
Really good. Sweet, crunchy, just a touch of chewiness from the dried fruits, healthy, and vegan! And the leftover crumbly bits will make a pretty amazing granola!All packaged up and ready to go for tomorrow! The perfect hiking snack; I hope the girls like them as much as I do 🙂 In the meantime, I’ll bring a few over to share with the Fiesta Friday crew to enjoy and get ready for the long weekend as well!
- Adapted from Alton Brown
- 2 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1 cup sliced almonds,
- 1/2 cup wheat germ
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup of honey (or agave syrup to be truly vegan)
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar, approximately
- 1 -ounce coconut oil, plus extra for pan
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups of dried fruit, any combination of apricots, cherries, or blueberries
- Grease with coconut oil a 9 by 9-inch glass baking dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spread the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, and wheat germ onto a half-sheet pan. Place in the oven and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- In the meantime, combine the honey, brown sugar, oil, extract and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved.
- Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees F. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine.
- Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish and place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.