So, today’s recipe was created by accident. I was doing some experimenting with granola bar recipes, trying to adapt some I found to be nut-free and friendly to ingredients that I usually keep at home. I finally settled on a list of ingredients and a technique. I got down to work, pressed the bars down firmly into the pan, and put them in the garage to cool (because it’s still below freezing in our neck of the woods, and using the garage as a fridge is the best part of winter).
Then I attempted to cut the concoction into bars. Epic fail.
Let’s just say that it was a crumbly mess. Super tasty, but a crumbly mess. But then a light bulb went off in my head as I watched Sweet Pea eat the crumbles out of the pan for breakfast. Crumbled granola bars are just. like. granola. Like the kind you pay for at the grocery store that costs $5 a box because you need the kind that is nut free, sunflower oil free, and dairy free.
So here it is! A granola bar snafu that ended up a tasty surprise. Because this recipe isn’t baked, it’s not a super crunchy granola. But it should keep in your pantry for a week and a half or so in a sealed container.
1 1/2 c. old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 c. crisy rice cereal
1/2 c. pepitas (roasted, and check for sunflower oil!)
1 1/2 c. dried fruit (I used raisins, dried cranberries, and chopped dried pineapple)
1/2 c. allergen-free chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life mini semisweet chips)
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. maple syrup (could substitute up to half with molasses if desired)
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
Lightly grease a 9×13 baking pan. Combine oats through ground cinnamon in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. In a small saucepan, combine olive oil, syrup, brown sugar, and vanilla. Cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture starts to boil. Continue cooking for one more minute while stirring continuously. Pour the hot mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until everything is moistened. Pour the granola into your prepared baking pan, and use a spatula or wax paper over your fingers to press the mixture firmly into the pan. You might hear the crispy rice crackle while you do this, and that’s okay! Cover the pan and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour to cool. When the granola is cool, use a fork or small spatula to break the granola into chunks. Store in a sealed container for up to 10 days.