Easy DIY Granola Bars! [Intro to Cooking]
With summer quickly approaching, I can’t wait to go home and…go hiking. I’ve been in my freshman year of college for the past 8-some months, and the closest I’ve gotten to a hike was pumping up the incline on the treadmill and trying to imagine some form of shrubbery around me. In the summer, I pretty much go hiking every day. Whether it’s with my dad or my best friend, hiking is one of my favorite forms of exercise because I don’t even realize I’m exercising. I can have a really nice, interesting conversation with whomever I’m hiking with, burning calories the whole time.
This burning of calories requires some form of energy-replenishing, however. It’s important to bring water and snacks, especially when the hike is really difficult and takes a long time. In this case, granola bars are my favorite thing to bring on a hike. They’re easy to throw into a backpack, they’re tasty and they just go well with nature. I started making my own granola bars (recipe courtesy of my favorite chef, Ina Garten) for this exact reason, and let me just say that I think they’re pretty damn good.
What you’ll need:
- 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
- 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
- 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
How to make it:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. Toss the oatmeal, almonds and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Put the mixture in a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.
3. Turn the oven temperature down to 300 degrees F.
4. Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture.
5. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries to the oatmeal mixture and stir well.
6. Pour the mixture into the baking dish you prepared first. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan.
7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown.
8. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. I like to wrap them in parchment paper after I cut them into squares so I can take them on hikes.
Ashley is a freshman at George Washington University majoring in International Affairs with a minor in English. She has a slight obsession with astrology and Bon Iver. Follow her on twitter @ashleybrooks25