The weather is just slammin’ with glory right now! At 7:30 this Saturday morning I surrendered to the voice of “future Emma” who said with great deliberation, “you will love me later today.” This is one of my most special friend’s mantras, and the best way to motivate a morning run, bike ride or yoga session – your call. As I was swearing up the hill on my 1908s Fuji through the frost tipped fields skirting Ithaca, my stomach began to rumble with fright. My mind wandered back to last weekend in New Paltz, NY, when my twin sister and ten of her closest chums celebrated her imminent wedding with a good romp through the woods, bathed in sunlight and satiated on these irresistible granola bars. If only I had one now. I suppose revisiting the recipe and pictures is nearly as good. Next up this weekend: baking.
Since the ripe age of 9, I can remember Annie’s mom tantalizing our friends with her sweet creations. Each batch was plentiful, and always better than the last. Each season brought new marvels, like her sticky, dense pumpkin bread. At Annie’s wedding this summer, Mrs. Brewer managed to hook every guest on these granola bars. The best part: they are raw, naturally sweetened and packed with energizing nutrition. This recipe was adapted from the original, yielding more bars and new flavors (original recipe below – a perfect base for getting creative with your fixin’s!).
- Oats - 6 cups rolled oats
- Honey - 1.5 cups
- Pretzel sticks - 1 cup thin pretzel sticks
- Medjool dates - 20 medjool dates, pitted and chopped
- Peanuts - 3/4 roasted, unsalted
- Semie-sweet or Dark chocolate chips - 1 cup
- In a blender or food processor (or with your hands or a knife), coarsely chop the pretzels into 1/2 inch pieces. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- In a small pot, heat the honey until it reaches the consistency of thin syrup.
- In a blender or food processor, blend the oats, dates and honey into a sticky and grainy batter.
- Transfer the oats, dates and honey to the large mixing bowl. Add the peanuts and mix together.
- Add the chocolate chips last. If the batter is still hot, the chocolate will melt and create a chocolate-colored bar which is divine. If you want to preserve the whole chips, let the batter cool and then mix in the chips.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly oil the foil with a pastry brush or a paper towel.
- Transfer the batter to the baking sheet and firmly pat the mixture onto the foil in a compact rectangle.
- Freeze the granola bars for about 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the freezer and cut the rectangle into 20 bars (or smaller or bigger - they are dense and hearty!). Wrap each individually. Store in an airtight container or in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.