breakfast

hazelnut and cherry granola bars

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While we all have our favorite go to “energy” bar in the form of things with names like Lara and Cliff or maybe even  ‘ole Snickers, this is good, solid, real food from your kitchen.  They are packed with protein, a little bit of butter and a whole lot of satisfying crunch.

They can just about replace a meal when paired with a piece of fruit.  And without the focus-crushing sugar swing that comes with other strange bars in plastic wrappers or skipping a meal all together.  Stuff a couple in your bag.  Share with friends.

I've done a ton of experimenting with this recipe.  I tried eliminating the butter altogether and just using coconut oil (a little crumbly) I also tried replacing the sugar with all maple syrup (good but got mixed reviews from friends) I like the ways these hold up but, as always, feel free to experiment with your own likes and make them your own.

hazelnut and cherry granola bars

Preheat oven to 350º

2 ½ cups of thick rolled oats, lightly toasted on a rimmed baking sheet for about 10 minutes or until slightly golden

1 c of whole hazelnuts, ½ c roughly chopped hazelnuts

½ cup of wheat germ

1 ½ t of cinnamon

½ t kosher salt

1 c of dried (tart) cherries

2/3 c coconut chips

½ c of natural, fresh grind peanut butter (or almond butter)

1/3 c brown sugar

½ c real maple syrup

¼ c butter

¼ c coconut oil

2 large eggs, beaten

In a food processor, combine 1 c of the hazelnuts, wheat germ, salt, cinnamon until you have a smooth grind.  Add to the toasted oats in a large mixing bowl.  Add the coconut chips, dried cherries and remaining nuts.

In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the coconut oil, butter, sugar, syrup and peanut butter until smooth.

Pour the “sauce” over the oat mixture and turn it around a few times to release some of the heat.  You’ll want to make sure you’ve “tempered” the oats before you mix in the eggs because a sweet scrambled egg granola bar is not what we are going for today.  Mix until well combined.

Evenly spread the mixture into a rimmed 9”x13” baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat.   Bake very carefully until golden brown, which should take about 25-30 minutes.   Things can go from good to bad in a hurry so start checking them early.  Once they are done, resist the urge to cut them up before they are ready.  Let them cool longer than you would think and they will retain their shape beautifully.