Photographed by Ashley Arpel Greenwald
Granola Bars You’ll Love
I have a wonderful group of neighborhood friends I visit with, many mornings per week and talk, tell stories and laugh so heartily! It’s a great way to start the day. I wanted to create a healthy breakfast granola bar to bring to these special people. My team and I tested several recipes and this one was the winner! Filled with oats, banana, nuts and seeds, no sugar added dried fruit and superfoods, this morning treat will fill you up without any guilt!
Granola Bars You’ll Love
- 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 large, 3-½ medium sized)
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
- 3/4 cup dried fruit: I used dried cherries, golden berries and white mulberries (dried blueberries, cranberries, etc. are all good).
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup pepita seeds
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup hemp hearts
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 13 Pyrex dish with a piece of parchment paper (with overhang) so the bars are easy to remove.
- In a large bowl, mash the banana until smooth, and measure out 1-½ cups. Eat the leftovers!
- Stir in the vanilla.
- Place the oats into a food processor and pulse until the oats are coarsely chopped (but still have lots of texture). Stir into the banana mixture until fully incorporated.
- Stir the dried fruit, walnuts, sunflower and pepita seeds, almonds, hemp hearts, and cinnamon into the banana-oat mixture until thoroughly combined.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish. With lightly wet hands, smooth out until even and uniform. Press down on the dough until compacted.
- Bake for about 25 minutes, until firm and lightly golden along the edges.
- For chewy bars: Take the dish out of the oven and place on a heat proof surface. Use parchment paper as handles, lift the cooked slab out of dish and onto a cooling rack. Use a spatula to loosen dough from parchment paper and place slab directly on the cooling rack until completely cool. For crispy bars: Remove the dish from the oven. Using the parchment overhang as handles pick up dough and place it on a cooling rack. Place a fresh piece of parchment paper on top of the dough and then a sheet pan on top of that. Carefully flip the dough over onto the parchment paper lined tray. Peel parchment paper from top of the dough and place granola slab back in the oven and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes or until the top of the dough is golden brown. Remove from the oven and place the slab on the cooling rack until completely cool.
- Once completely cool, slice the slab into 14 -16 bars. A pizza slicer works perfectly, as it easily cuts through the dried fruit and nuts. Serve, or store in the refrigerator for a week, or in the freezer for 4 to 6 weeks.