Huge fan of super oatmeal cookies, I always stock a bag or two in our pantry if not for cookies than it would be porridge or yoghurt-muesli for breakfast. Crazy enough if you buy Granola or Muesli bars as a healthsnack in between meals, your often to be disappointed being overly sweet. If you want to keep your sugar intake and make fibre and proteins your best buddy you have to check the ingredients list, without accidentally crushing down the health factor.
For weeks a pack of oatmeal was screaming ‘healthy & nutritious” from the kitchen counter, yesterday I did just right for the cookie jar. While preparing Ciabatta bread and feeding my sourdough starters, in between I just threw al ingredients together in a bowl for Home-baked Granola bars! (A short video will be added later to show how easy it is to mix everything together, the sound needs to be re-edited first)
In all fairness I have tried quite a few recipes but the bars keep falling apart, leaving me with more muesli crumbs than bars. Dozen attempts later and building up annoyance I found out by coincidence how to guarantee to make packed bars. While preparing the oatmeal layer in a brownie pan which I first lined with waxed baking paper (cut larger size than the pan), fold down the excess wax paper and press down with another brownie pan use a heavy object, but bodyweight should do the trick. Press the mixture evenly and surely sticking it all together. Don’t over-bake otherwise they’ll turn out as bricks, your teeth won’t like it but our dog did (at least somebody was happy with my mishaps too 🙂 )
As for recipes ingredients some extra steps, toast your nuts for extra crispiness. I prefer to use honey, maple syrup and consciously try to avoid those which uses (high-fructose) corn syrup, there is a difference between corn syrup and High-fructose corn syrup. Ever since I was drawn into a discussion about high fructose corn syrup I learned more about this topic. The main concerns centres around excessive sugar intake and its contribution to obesity, type-2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease (source: Wikipedia). Read for more information the highlighted article links posted on Eco-watch and Huffington Post “Why to avoid intake or using high-fructose corn syrup at all”.
This recipe is my basic go-to, all ingredients can be replaced or substituted with almost everything. In the images shown here I’ve used dried sultanas and raisins, during other bakes I’ve used cranberries, blueberries, dried orange peel and the list goes on. The same for the nuts, although peanuts and almonds are most used basically a combination of various seeds or a mix combined with nuts. As for the binding liquid I used vegetable oil, honey and vanilla essence. Use at least two or three dried fruits otherwise the sweetness will drop and you’ll have to add sugar for balance, which isn’t necessary. Again press it down firmly.