In theory, granola bars are a great school snack. Portable, flavourful, little mess, inexpensive. But, most store-bought kinds are very low in protein, too high in sugar, often contain nuts, and just don’t taste good. Plus, kids are finicky eaters, and their tastes change on a weekly, sometimes, hourly basis.
So, it was to my great surprise that my daughter was interested in a homemade granola bar. She’s taken to eating a lot of dried apricots, and I told her that this recipe purees them to bind the granola together.
The directions begin with toasting rolled oats, ground nuts, and sunflower seeds. While that was slowly browning, I soaked some old dried cranberries (we didn’t have cherries) in an herbal, cranberry tea to plump them. Since I didn’t have quite enough, I made up the difference with additional dried apricots.
In the same food processor used to grind the nuts, I made the fruit puree (apricots, sugar, oil, water). This gets stirred with the toasted ingredients, along with the other mix-ins: Rice Krispies cereal, and chocolate chips. I gave my daughter a sample of cocoa nibs (which the original recipe calls for) which she emphatically rejected.
These bars were a big hit, not only with my daughter but Dr. S as well. The texture is quite soft and crumbly, and they’ve stayed that way for a whole week, tightly sealed. The nutty fragrance (gotta love hazelnuts) and the sweet-tangy flavour is something that is missing in commercial granola bars.
Of course, since this recipe included hazelnuts, it wasn’t a candidate for bringing to school. But, I’m often met with cries of hunger around 17:00, so I’ll be handing these out when I pick my kids up after school.