I began making these granola bites in earnest when a series of sleep-deprived shopping trips last year left me with about five kilograms of oats to use, STAT.
I will admit that once I had painstakingly worked my way through the apocalypse-prepping supply of oats, I needed a bit of a break from this super successful granola bar recipe.
In any case I suddenly remembered the recipe a couple of weeks ago with a renewed sense of affection and the children are now asking for them on repeat, so we can be thankful that it is a truly foolproof smug and lazy option.
I have played around with the quantities a little to try and cut down slightly on the sugar – but it is still unashamedly sweet, in part because the honey/maple syrup makes them very sturdy bars – no crumbling in sight. Also, the sweet treat element is a trade-off I’m fairly willing to make, given they are also packed with pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, chia, flax, and just about anything else healthy you fancy throwing in there.
No nuts, so they are packed-lunch friendly, although if I were making them just for home I would probably throw in some well chopped almonds as well. Anything goes really, as long as you stick to the dry/wet ratio to make sure there is enough honey mix to bind them properly.
The other minor tweak, on the original recipe – I used to throw a handful of mini chocolate chips into the mix before leaving it to set in the fridge but this did slow the process down a little – as you must wait for the mix to cool completely before you add the chocolate chips and press into the tin, otherwise the chocolate chips all melt and the result isn’t that pretty (been there).
So now I just press the oat mix into the tin immediately, leave to set, and then drizzle a little melted dark chocolate on top when I get chance. I have even been known to serve them up without chocolate and they are deemed acceptable by 3 out of 4 children in this house, a reasonable success, in case you want to keep things simpler (and even smugger re the sugar content).
Note the experienced and patient chocolate piping work, a measure of how desperate I was to sit down with a cup of tea (very).
Anyway if you, too, have had a sufficient break from oat based recipes and are ready to get involved, here is the 2018 edition:
2 cups Rolled Oats – Old fashioned / instant oats or a mix
1/2 cup dessicated / shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup pumpkin/sunflower seeds, roughly chopped (finely chopped if you have someone who will flip out if they see an identifiable seed)
1/3cup honey and maple syrup – mix of your choice (bear in mind that maple syrup has less sticking power so you will def need some honey)
1tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup butter
2 tbsp caster sugar
1/2 cup hemp seeds, chia seeds, ground flax, whatever healthy add-in is your jam.
Pinch of salt
Throwback to the chocolate chip edition
Preheat oven to 160C/320F
Put oats on a baking tray and lightly toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Add coconut to tray and bake for another 2-3minutes.
Transfer oats and coconut to large mixing bowl.
Add chopped pumpkin/sunflower seeds and hemp/chia mix.
Put honey/maple syrup, vanilla extract, butter, caster sugar and salt in a pan on the hob, at a low-medium heat and melt together.
Pour melted wet mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients. Stir until all dry ingredients are coated.
Then get a square baking tin (mine is 23cm and may actually belong to my sister – the jig is up), and very roughly line with a piece of baking parchment. As in, no butter needed and I normally just tear a piece that is a good enough fit.
Pour the mix into the pan and press down until things are evenly spread around.
Then get another sheet of baking parchment, lay over the top of the mix and press down for 2 minutes. The more you press, the firmer the granola bars will be. I normally use the side of a mug to press down even more – helps the less-mess-lunchbox-ability of the bars.
Cover with cling wrap, and refrigerate for 2hrs (or forget about them overnight, both seem fine).
If adding a drizzle of melted chocolate, melt half a bar of cooking chocolate, throw that on and then refrigerate for another half hour before sliding the block out and slicing into whatever size pieces you desire.