Monday, November 29, 2010

Orange Cranberry Granola Bars

I made this little recipe up several years ago after I had my second son. I was pretty tied up catering to my newborn's every need, and didn't have time to make myself a proper meal while my husband was at work. So I took a few of my favorite "superfoods" and incorporated them into a single granola bar that could be easily changed up for whatever my food fixation was for that week. This particular recipe was geared towards popular holiday flavors by using orange and cranberry. But some of my favorites to date have been with dried apple and butterscotch chips, dried apricot (or dried cherry) and dark chocolate, coconut and dried pineapple, and old fashioned raisin. Of course, there is no end in sight for the variations YOU can come up with...this recipe easily allows for that! So let's get started:

Basic granola bar recipe:

3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
3 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (or use a mix of walnuts, pecans, or almonds)
1 cup ground flaxseed
1 1/2 cups vanilla whey protein powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBSP cinnamon (optional depending on flavor profile)
1 cup dried fruit (snipped to small pieces if needed)
~~~mix well in bowl, then add:
4 eggs (or 1 cup egg whites)
1/2 - 3/4 cup honey ( I used 16 oz orange marmalade in this variation today)
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Optional add ins include -
1 cup baking chips, any flavor
1 cup yogurt covered raisins
1 cup chopped yogurt covered pretzel pieces
1 cup flaked coconut
*replace honey with molasses or maple syrup to change the flavor profile
**to make a less hearty, lighter bar - replace 1/2 the nuts with crispy rice cereal

Using your hands, mix the ingredients together in a large boil until combined thoroughly. In a greased 9x13" pan, press the mixture FIRMLY until even. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes...just until the edges are lightly browned. Once done, remove from oven and cut into bars within 5 minutes. Let cool completely before attempting to remove from pan (otherwise they may fall apart). Store wrapped individually in refrigerator, or freezer for longer than one week. ENJOY!!

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