Right before Mr. Fox was born, I checked a gorgeous book out from the library called Feast. It had lots of vegetarian recipes in it (depending on the week, we are about 80% vegetarian), and I found a granola bar recipe that looked quite good. I didn't have all the ingredients that the author called for so I ended up modifying it quite a bit, and totally loved them. I have tried a few different kinds of granola bars over the last few years, but always felt like they were way too sweet, or had loads of junk in them, and couldn't possibly be considered a healthy snack. These have peanut butter, maple syrup and honey as binder/sweeteners, so perhaps shouldn't be considered really healthy, but they do have lots of nuts, oats and natural sweeteners, so I feel pretty good about them. Plus they are dang delicious! We are lucky if a pan lasts 3 days in our house... Mostly because of me...
Nutty Granola Bars:
adapted from Feast
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup millet
1/2 cup raw unshelled sunflower seeds
3 Tbs raw unseasoned pepitas
1 Tbs sesame seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup toasted chopped almonds
1 1/2 cups peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, millet (don't leave this one out! It is hard to find, but totally makes the granola bar!), sunflower seeds, pepitas, sesame seeds, cinnamon, salt, and almonds. In a smaller bowl, combine the peanut butter, maple syrup, honey and vanilla extract until smooth (you may need to stick it in the microwave for 30 seconds or so to soften up the peanut butter). Stir wet ingredients in with the dry until thoroughly combined. Pour into a 9x13" pan that has been lined with tinfoil and sprayed with a nonstick spray and push mixture down with a rubber spatula to help the mixture stay together once you take it out of the pan (it can be kind of crumbly). Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Let cool for about 15 minutes then remove entire mixture on the tinfoil. Let cool for another 30 or so minutes, then cut with a sharp knife into bars. Or, crumble it up and eat it like granola with full fat plain yogurt. You won't regret it. Happy baking!