Raw Granola Bars – a Boost of Pure Energy
Hello Emirates and the rest of the world tuned into theLITTLEbig lately. As promised, I will share with you a quick and amazingly yummy raw cranberry, honey, peanut butter granola bars recipe. Add nutmeg for a more Christmasy flavor. Easily adapted to vegetarian and gluten free. It is off course, kid friendly and a healthy snack to pack in the lunch box.
As a mum, with another baby on the way in just a month or so, my time is extremely limited and I am very keen on this quick preparation aspect of a recipe, without compromising on the health aspect. I am certain that your free time is equally divided in thousand directions over the weekend or in the evenings, after work, and I am sure you will appreciate a healthy recipe that can be put together under 15 minutes (without food processor). The time lessens considerably if you use one.
What is wonderful about this recipe is that it is versatile and can have infinite variations according to your taste and preferences. Let us start first with my take on it and I will get you some more suggestions right at the end.
Let us begin!
- ½ cup cranberries
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup walnuts / use pecan if you like
- ½ cup sun dried apricots/dried apricots will work just fine instead
- ½ teaspoon orange zest (if you like an intense orange flavor you could use 1 teaspoon of zest instead. If you prefer lemon, then so be it! It works wonderful with both)
- 250g raw honey
- 1 ½ cups of quick-cooking oats
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- vanilla extract
- Have ready a 9-inch square baker and line it with parchment paper, cut to fit neatly against the base and up the sides. I clip it with the scissors in the corners so that it overlaps and fits in the tray without difficulty. The parchment paper will make it easy for you to slice the bars later.
- For a completely raw recipe, you can skip this step. I like the nuts and seeds more fragrant and crunchier and I roast them for 5 minutes as follows: in a medium skillet over medium heat, toast the walnuts/pecans for 3 minutes and add the pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Because of their size they tend to roast quicker hence the advice to add it at a later stage. Stir continuously for another 2 minutes and let it cool down for another 5 min.
- Because of their size, the sundried apricots must go first in the food processor for about 15 seconds. Add the toasted nuts, seeds and the cranberries and then run the machine for about 10 seconds, until the nuts and cranberries are all broken up. If you do not own a food processor then it is absolutely fine. You just have to chop the sundried apricots to the size of the cranberries (the finer the better) and also the walnuts and seeds. This adds just another 5 minutes to the preparation time. (If you add the ingredients whole, your bars will be more difficult to slice through and more likely to crumble at the edges.)
- In a mixing bowl, combine the contents of the food processor with the oats, orange zest, and cinnamon.
- In another bowl, whisk together the raw honey and vanilla extract until well blended. Make sure you use room temperature raw honey for ease of stirring. If the honey has hardened, keep the jar in” bain marie” (a hot water bath) for 10-15 min, until smooth and runny.
- Pour the honey-vanilla mix into the dry ingredients. Use a big spoon to mix them together until the ingredients are evenly combined and no dry oats remain. This may be a bit challenging and takes a bit of strength, but it is all worth the effort! If the mixture is easy to mix together, that's a sign that you need to add some more oats—sprinkle in more oats until you can't incorporate any more.
- Transfer the mixture to the square tray lined with parchment paper. Use a large wooden spoon to arrange the mixture evenly in the square tray, then use the bottom of a flat, round surface (like a drinking glass), covered in a small piece of parchment paper, to pack the mixture down as firmly and evenly as possible.
- Cover the tray and refrigerate for at least one hour, or preferably overnight. (The oats need time to soak up some of the moisture so they are not sticky.) To slice them, lift the bars out of the tray by grabbing the parchment paper on opposite corners. Use a sharp knife (essential) to slice the bars into 1” strips, and then slice them in half through the middle.
- OTHER VARIATION: you can use any combination of nuts and seeds: you can use almonds, hazelnuts, you could throw in few spoons of sesame seeds, you could replace the apricot with dates, the cranberries with raisins, etc. As I said, the variations of this recipe are practically unlimited.
- MAKE IT VEGAN: Use maple syrup instead of honey.
- MAKE IT GLUTEN FREE: Be sure to choose certified gluten-free oats.
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thelittlebigco and #littlebigchange