Last week we closed the restaurant and took our first week long vacation, well “stay-cation” really, in two years. We slept late, went out for lunch, and got several projects accomplished around the house. It was relaxing, but you know what? By the end of the week I was READY to go back to work! I know, I couldn’t believe it either. I missed our customers and all the cooking, but to tell the truth, it was the routine that I found myself craving most.
Now that school is back in session I know most of you are back into a routine at your homes too. Part of that routine might include packing lunches. I thought I would share the recipe I use for granola bars with you today. These bars are great for the lunch box, as an after school snack, or if you just need a little something salty and sweet to satisfy a craving. You can interchange the dried cranberries in this recipe with most any other dried fruit that suits your taste. A small handful of nuts would make a nice addition as well.
I hope the back to school week went well at your house. Fall is just around the corner and I am excited! It is my favorite season and I have recipes I can’t wait to share with you.
Perfect for the Lunchbox Granola Bars (Adapted From Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce)
1/2 Stick Butter
2 Cups Rolled Oats (Not the quick cook kind)
1/2 Cup plus 1 tbsp. of Flax Seed Meal (divided)
½ to ¾ tsp. Cinnamon (I LOVE cinnamon so I use the ¾ measurement)
1/2 Cup Dried Fruit (raisins, cranberries, blue berries etc.)
1/2 Cup Honey
1/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
1 tbsp. Molasses
1 tsp. Salt
Preheat your oven to 325 and grease a 9 x 9 pan
Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium heat and add the 2 cups of rolled oats. Keep the oats and butter on the stove stirring every minute for about 6 minutes to toast the oats.
In a large bowl combine the toasted oats, 1/2 cup flax seed meal, and cinnamon. In a smaller bowl toss the fruit with the remaining flax seed meal and chop finely and add to the oat mixture.
Wipe out the saucepan you used for the oats and return it to the stove on medium heat. Put the honey, brown sugar, molasses, and salt to the pot. Stir to combine and cook until evenly boiling. This takes about 7 minutes. Remove from heat as soon as it boils.
Pour the syrup mixture over the oat mixture, use a spatula to get all the syrup out of the pot. Stir the mixture with the spatula to evenly coat all the flakes.
Scrape the granola mix into the prepared pan. Butter your hands and press the mixture into the buttered pan pressing it down firmly. (You can also use an Offset spatula for this)
Bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes. The outer edges will be a bit darker and the bars will have a nice shine to them. Be careful not to over bake them or they will be too dry.
Cool for about 25 minutes before slicing into bars or squares.
Note: You can double this recipe and make it in a 9×13 pan.