Easy breakfast foods to-go (that are actually healthy) are so hard to come by, aren’t they? At least, in the grocery store, they are. I’d love to just pick up a pack of granola bars and keep a stash on hand for when I don’t have time to make a decent breakfast or snack, but most of the ones available are full of junk.
Do we really want to be eating things like…
GRANOLA (WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED OATS, BROWN SUGAR, CRISP RICE [RICE FLOUR, SUGAR, SALT, MALTED BARLEY EXTRACT], WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED WHEAT, SOYBEAN OIL, WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, SODIUM BICARBONATE, SOY LECITHIN, CARAMEL COLOR, NONFAT DRY MILK), CORN SYRUP, BROWN RICE CRISP (WHOLE GRAIN BROWN RICE, SUGAR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, SALT), SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE CHUNKS (SUGAR, CHOCOLATE LIQUOR, COCOA BUTTER, SOY LECITHIN, VANILLIN [AN ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR]), SUGAR, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, GLYCERIN, INVERT SUGAR, DRIED RED TART CHERRIES.CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF SOYBEAN OIL, SORBITOL, CALCIUM CARBONATE, SALT, RICE FLOUR, MOLASSES, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, SOY LECITHIN, MALIC ACID, BHT (PRESERVATIVE).
Those would be the ingredients in Quaker Oats’ Dark Chocolate Cherry granola bars.
I’m sorry, but I don’t even know what half those things are! And gee, I can’t seem to remember the last time I stocked up on malted barley extract, corn syrup solids, malic acid, or BHT to put in the food I eat.
The good news is, granola bars are surprisingly simple to make yourself at home, with ingredients you actually recognize. These homemade bars are great for a snack, or you can easily pair a couple with a tall glass of whole (raw) milk for a quick, tasty breakfast. I usually add in a scoop of collagen to my milk for extra protein. Good stuff!
Cherry Pie Granola Bars
- 2 eggs, room temperature (they’ll chunk up your coconut oil if they’re cold)
- 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
- 1/2 cup sucanat or organic brown sugar
- 2 T coconut oil (find quality coconut oil here)
- 2 T butter, preferably grass-fed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or scrape one vanilla bean (I buy these ones here)
- 2 1/2 cups sprouted oats (find organic sprouted oats here)
- 2/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
- 1/2 cup cashews or pecans, chopped
- 4 tablespoons sprouted, einkorn, or organic, unbleached white flour (find healthy, organic flours here)
First, you’ll need to toast those oats. Spread them out on a sheet, preferably with a Silpat mat on top (makes it so much easier to get the oats in your bowl— just lift up the sides together and let them slide out!), and bake them at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, until golden brown and toasty-smelling.
Melt the butter and coconut oil in a large bowl (can just stick it in a warm oven for a few minutes if it’s a glass bowl, but I won’t judge you if you microwave it). Add in the eggs and beat ’em a bit. Next, blend in your sugars, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla. Then mix in your flour to thicken things up a bit. Now you can slide in the oats, as well as the nuts and cherries, and combine. You can add in more or less nuts/cherries until everything looks good to you. Oh, and while the ingredients sound super nasty in those Quaker bars, it does sound like a pretty good idea to me to throw in some dark chocolate! I didn’t do that on this batch, but feel free to experiment. 🙂
Generously grease a 9×13″ pan with coconut oil, and spread the mixture inside, flattening everything out with a spatula.
Turn down the heat in the oven to 325, and bake for about a half-hour. Look for the edges to get a little crunchy-looking, and everything to look nicely set and golden brown.
Now, slice them up into whatever size bars you’d like with a buttered knife (makes it less likely to stick), and set them on a rack to cool. You can refrigerate them, or if you know you’re going to gobble them all up within a few days, they’re probably fine in an airtight container in the cupboard.