After my wonderful visit to the Irish Embassy last week – see last post – I felt inspired to do something with the lovely big bag of Irish oats that I brought home with me. What to make? For me it’s too hot for porridge at the moment – I’ll save that pleasure for the [...]
After my wonderful visit to the Irish Embassy last week – see last post – I felt inspired to do something with the lovely big bag of Irish oats that I brought home with me. What to make? For me it’s too hot for porridge at the moment – I’ll save that pleasure for the chilly mornings of Autumn. But it’s the perfect time for picnics and we always love snacks to take out on our travels. So I decided to make a big, crunchy slab of granola to break into bars just for that purpose. With summer camps and day trips galore on the menu, these delicious little bars provide a healthy boost of energy.
I’m crazy about nuts and seeds – I like nutty things to be really nutty, not just a scanty hint. That’s the great thing about creating your own food, you get to make it just how you like it! So my granola bars are a luxurious mix of oats, and nuts and seeds, blended together in a syrup of butter, brown sugar and honey and perfumed with vanilla. I try to go easy on the butter and sugar in the recipe so that I can feel pious in my indulgence. Is that possible?
Very Nutty Granola Bars
Like most of my recipes, this one is pliable. There is much latitude to vary the ingredients and make the bars just as you like them. You can use any nuts or seeds that you like. Or just seeds. Or add some dried fruit, sometimes I do that too. Even the grains/flakes can vary – you can just use oats, or mix with wheat, rice, barley…I found a bag of mixed grain porridge recently and I like to add this to the oats.
Here is my recipe as a basic guide.
150g light brown or golden caster sugar
150g of golden syrup or honey (or a combination of the two)
100g peanut butter, I use whole, crunchy type
350g of oat and/or other grain flakes
125g seeds – pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, hemp, all good (your choice)
125g nuts, chopped – pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, all good as above
one teaspoon of vanilla essence
Heat oven to 180 centigrade and line a shallow baking pan (about 30x45cm) with baking paper.
In a large heavy pan, melt together the butter with the sugar and syrup and/or honey. When the sugar is dissolved, blend in the peanut butter. Remove from the heat and add all the dry ingredients and mix it all up well, along with the teaspoon of vanilla.
Turn the mixture out onto the baking sheet and press it out evenly. I cover it all with another sheet of baking paper and use my hands to press in evenly into the pan. (Then take the top sheet off before baking.) This makes it easier to cut into bars later.
Bake for about 20 to 2 minutes until golden brown all over. Allow to cool in the pan. Then cut into bars or squares as you wish.
Lovely with a bowl of hot chocolate or cafe au lait!