Big Fat Square Granola Bars
Years ago, on a trip to England with my parents and sister, these granola bars were dreamed up at a trip to Starbucks. We had gone to England to take my sister over for a semester abroad and it was the coldest winter they'd had in years. Naturally, we wanted to find something to warm us up and Starbucks's was just the ticket for us American's. Inside their muffin case was a treat very similar to these granola bars. Shay, my Mom, assumed that she could recreate them at home. After several weeks of trying to perfect them these babies were born.
On a recent trip home, to my delight, I acquired several of my mom's recipe books. These bars were the second recipe I searched for and I am excited to share it, and many more, with you. At the end of the recipe I will include some other ingredient alternatives so you can enjoy making a variety of granola bar flavors.
3 C. rolled oats
1/2 C. almond flour
1/2 C. gluten free flour (or oat flour, or unbleached all-purpose flour)
4T protein powder (vanilla flavor)
1/4 C. coconut oil
1 C. brown rice syrup
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/4 C. pumpkin seed, raw
1/4 C. golden raisins
1/4 C. dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare an 8x8 square baking dish by spraying it with non-stick cooking spray. A pan that has a removable bottom will serve you the best here. Or you can line a regular 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper that hangs over each edge. Spray the parchment paper to prevent sticking.
Combine the brown rice syrup and coconut oil in a glass bowl. Microwave, if needed, to melt the coconut oil. After microwaving, add the vanilla extract.
Add the oats, flours, and protein powder into the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on low until combined. Add the pumpkin seeds, raisins, and cranberries. Mix until combined. Pour in the melted oil, syrup, and vanilla mixture. Mix until well combined.
Pour into the pan and press firmly with your hands or a spatula into all the corners. Note, you will need to apply some firm pressure here to get the bars smooth and even. Don't be afraid to be firm, you won't ruin the recipe. If you are using parchment paper, you will pour the mix onto the parchment paper lined pan. The parchment paper might slide around a bit so move slowly until paper begins to settle into the pan.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Let bars cool for two hours before removing from the pan. If you used parchment paper, lift the overhanging parchment paper up to release the 8x8 square of granola bars. Cut into 9 square granola bars.
To make other flavors, omit the pumpkin seeds, golden raisins, and dried cranberries and try these substitutions:
Chocolate Cherry Bars:
1/2 C. chocolate chips
1/2 C. dried cherries
1/8 t. almond extract
Blueberry Nut Bars:
1/2 C. pecans, chopped
1/2 C. dried blueberries
1/2 C. dried apricots, diced
1/2 C. walnuts, chopped
1/8 C. Sunflower seeds, raw