Recently, we had the fortune of having some international cyclistas visit us from the great nation of Finland. It has become an ongoing joke between us that all they eat is granola. Every time they come I buy or make them granola. When they are on their road trips, they eat granola. Even when they are home, they eat granola for breakfast. Granola, granola, granola! But, you have to admit, little ol' granola is a perfect food for when you are traveling. Lot of carbs to give you the power boost to make it over that next hill with a headwind coming right at you.
When they were departing our abode on to their next journey, I wanted to give them some handheld fuel to take with them, so I came up with this recipe for a very European flavored granola bar (with some very healthy additions like chia and coconut oil). They loved them, I loved them, and my seven-year-old gave them a sideways thumbs up (which translates to, "I'd eat them, but I wouldn't ask you to make them again."). Ok, dearest, I'll leave the saffron out next time!
Chewy Vegan Chia Chai Apricot Cherry Pepita Granola Bars
Tip: To make GF, use GF oats. Replace wheat germ with ground flax seeds.
- 1/4 cup pepitas
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/8 cup chia seeds
- 1 cup oats
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup wheat germ
- 1/3 cup brown rice syrup
- 1/8 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 TB unrefined coconut oil
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- few strands of saffron (Optional: I know people are sensitive to the taste of saffron, so don't use if you don't dig it. *Cough* *cough*, Mr. Scissors! )
- pinch each: cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, clove (All these are optional, though I would definitely use cinnamon. Tailor it to your taste or experiment.)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped apricots
- 1/4 cup finely chopped mejool dates
- 1/4 cup finely chopped dried chart cherries
- Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8x8 a slightly oiled brownie pan (I like the glass variety) with parchment paper and spray the paper lightly with oil.
- In a bowl, mix seeds, oats, coconut, and wheat germ. Spread on a baking pan and place in oven for about 15 minutes to toast. Give a shake or a stir every 5 minutes.
- In the last five minutes of the dry ingredients toasting, add, to a heavy bottom sauce pan, the brown rice syrup, brown sugar, coconut oil, vanilla, and seat salt. Stir frequently and bring just to the point of boiling. Remove from heat and add dried fruit.
- Remove dry mix from oven and add to the wet mixture. Combine all ingredients. Let cool slightly.
- Press the mixture into the prepared brownie pan as tightly and evenly as you can pack it. Place in oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Remove and let cool completely. You can even let it sit, covered, overnight in the fridge.
- When granola is completly cooled, cut into bars, and wrap individual pieces (I used wax paper, but you could also use plastic wrap). They will last for about 2 or so (if not longer!) weeks in your fridge! Grab one to go for your next bike trip!