Kitchen Sink Granola Bars. Or Baked Granola Cereal.

Anyone who has made granola bars at home knows how easy it is.

Warning: After reading this post, you will have no excuse for eating store-bought granola bars.

Everything but the kitchen sink! Make my recipe for Kitchen Sink Granola Bars your own: What ingredients do you have on hand? My ingredients included dried cherries and blueberries, chopped Brazil nuts, flax seed powder, raw cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, cinnamon and toasted coconut. I even stuck in a few dark chocolate chips to woo in the anti-granola-bar people. These bars are delicious and healthy as a high-energy on-the-go snack. You can even modify the recipe to make loose granola cereal. Call them custom, call them artisanal, just call them your own! Here's the recipe...


What's in your Bar???
Everyone will have a different bar. But just be sure and fill it with high fiber, nutrient-dense good for you ingredients! Some options include: raisins, dried apricots, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, prune pieces, almonds, cashews, dried pineapple, sesame seeds, peanuts, cacao nibs, cranberries, goji berries, whole flax seeds, pecans, crushed pretzels, cereal, dried banana and more! So many options. Good thing my recipe is so easy to customize.

My Bars. Here's what I put in my bars: dried Bing cherries, dried blueberries, unsweetened shredded coconut, roasted/salted almonds, Irish style oatmeal, blueberry flavored flax seed powder, chopped raw cashews, sunflower seeds, maple syrup and agave syrup. Note: I like to use a variety of sweeteners to build the flavors. You can use agave syrup, maple syrup, date paste, malt syrup, brown sugar or raw sugar. Honey is an option for non-vegans. Here's the basic recipe I use:



Below is the "Bars" Recipe. But if you'd like to simply make loose granola cereal here is the recipe:

Loose Granola Cereal
vegan

2 C. Steel cut oats
3/4 C. Agave Syrup or Maple Syrup
4 Tbsp Canola, Grapeseed, Macadamia Nut or Olive Oil
1/2 C. Flax seed meal or wheat germ, pan toasted
1 1/2 C. Dried fruit assortment
1 C. Unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 C. Chopped nuts (assorted)
1 Tbsp Vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

1. Toast the oatmeal, coconut and nuts with a splash of oil. Bake in a casserole dish at 350 degrees for ten minutes to toast.

2. Toss all remaining ingredients together with the toasted nut/oat mix.

3. Bake the granola for 20 minutes at 400 degrees - stirring mixture every 5 minutes. You really just want to dry toast the ingredients quickly.

4. Remove from oven. Then toss granola in a bowl and place in a bag for storage. Since you are using oil instead of butter, no refrigeration is required - and your granola will not firm up the way the bars will.

Kitchen Sink Granola Bars
vegan, makes one casserole sheet of bars

2 C. Steel cut oats
2/3 C. Wet sweetener (Agave Syrup or Maple Syrup)
1/4 C. Another variety of sweetener (wet or dry)
4 Tbsp Vegan buttery spread
1/2 C. Flax seed meal or wheat germ, pan toasted
1 1/2 C. Dried fruit assortment
1 C. Unsweetened shredded coconut (or more fruit/grains)
1/2 C. Whole nuts (for chunky texture)
1 C. Chopped nuts (assorted)
1/2 C. Seeds (sunflower, sesame, poppy, etc.)
1 Tbsp Vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
*adjust salt based on how many of your nuts are pre-salted
spray canola or olive oil

optional:
*thin layer of dark chocolate chips as a topping
*Substitute half the buttery spread with a nut butter such as almond or peanut butter

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Layer parchment paper or foil in a square casserole dish. Grease the insides with canola or olive oil.

3. In a large mixing bowl, add the oatmeal, coconut and nuts and toss well. Transfer this dry mix to the casserole dish. Spray a bit of spray oil on top of dry mix-this will aid the toasting process.

4. Place dish in oven to toast for 10 minutes.

5. Over low heat, toast your flax seed meal or wheat germ in a dry pan for about 1 minute. Transfer toasted meal to large mixing bowl.

6. Stove top: Place a soup pan over high heat. Add the buttery spread, liquid and dry sweeteners, vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon. Heat until it has melted together and becomes bubbly. Turn heat to low.

7. Measure fruit and seed ingredients and place in large mixing bowl. Toss well.

8. By now, your ten minute oat/coconut/nut mix should be just about lightly toasted. Pull the casserole dish out of the oven Carefully transfer the toasted mix into the large mixing bowl.

9. Next, pour the butter/sugar hot liquid into the mixing bowl. Stir well until the mixture is thick, firm and well combined.

10. Pour the entire mixture into your lined casserole dish. Add any toppings (chocolate/crushed nuts/other).



11. Bake at 300 degrees for 35 minutes.

12. Allow to cool for one hour before slicing into bars. Allow to fully cool in fridge for storage. Bars will become chewy and firm in a cold fridge.



13. Store in individual plastic baggies for easy grab-n-go snacks!







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