Sweet & Wholesome – a winning combination

There must be hundreds of recipes and variations for granola bars on the internet. Thousands even. Do we really need another? Most likely not… But then again, there is something about this enticing combination of simply good ingredients that deserves the opportunity to shine whenever possible, and i’m proud to have it here in my little space on the internet!

A nourishing and sustaining bar, it satisfies in terms of texture, flavour and sweetness, and can easily be adapted to prevent boredom. It has certainly become a much loved staple in our home and is perfect for in-between meal snacks or as an after dinner treat. I think wholesome is the most apt description for these delicious morsels.

I love the butter in this version, but if you prefer to try without, see my previous real muesli bar recipe and suggested variations. Have I mentioned that our family seems to have an insatiable appetite for oats?

{All images by Jessica Shaver Photography for Équilibre}

Coconut, Pecan & Dried Cherry Granola Bars

(Inspired by Mollie’s recipe here, this would have to be my favoured combination of flavours, but feel free to substitute other nuts, dried fruit, chocolate or seeds)

2 cups (190 g) organic oats (choose the quick cooking style for this recipe)
1/4 cup (45 g) rapadura sugar
1 cup (110 g) pecans (chopped or halved according to your preference)
½ cup (25 g) shredded or flaked coconut
½ cup (85 g) chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
¼ cup (40 g) dried cherries
½ tsp fine sea salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup (85 g) natural peanut butter
85g unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp water

Preheat the oven to 180°C.  Grease and line a 22cm square baking pan with baking paper.

Process 1/3 cup (30 to 35 grams) of the oats in a small food processor until finely ground (this helps to make the bars more dense).

In a large bowl, stir together the ground oats with the remaining whole oats, sugar, nuts, coconut, chocolate chips, dried cherries, salt, and cinnamon.

In a medium bowl, combine the peanut butter, vanilla extract, melted butter, maple syrup and water. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, and stir well (make sure the butter has cooled a little, or the chocolate chips will tend to melt). Transfer to the prepared pan, pressing the mixture firmly (I used a large metal spoon to do the job, just be sure to give it a really good press.)

Bake the bars for about 30 minutes, or until they’re brown around the edges and just beginning to go golden on top. The mixture may still seem a little soft, but it will set as it cools.

Transfer the pan to a rack, and allow the bars to cool completely in the pan (I put mine in the fridge for some time, too). When cool, lift the sheet of bars out of the pan and cut into your desired shapes (squares or bars). Enjoy!

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