If you’ve ever wondered what a typical weekend is like in my life, the answer is that there is no typical weekend. In fact, sometimes weekends are so packed with work that any attempt at a day (or two) off takes place on random days throughout the week. When possible, one little Saturday routine I love to uphold (when I can) is to take a walk through my neighbourhood and scour my favourite local thrift shops for any fun new finds. Since this weekend offered the opportunity to go on my little scavenger route for the first time in a long time, I wasted no time hunting for some second hand surprises.
Since cookbooks happen to be one of the (many) things I like to collect, hitting up the book section of any thrift shop is normally where I head to first, followed by searching for vintage home wares. I don’t really know how my obsession with cookbooks started, but I am legitimately addicted to finding, buying and accumulating them. So much so that even over this weekend alone I managed to acquire at least three new ones!
While hunting through one of my favourite second hand spots, I came across the cookbook by home cook and food blogger, Deb Perelman, of Smitten Kitchen and instantly started to leaf through it. Although I admittedly was not a follower of her blog before finding her book, I was instantly intrigued by her rather gourmet family-friendly recipes, along with the raving reviews found on the book cover by Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, and the Co-Founder of Food52.com.
I’ll admit that even though I buy a lot of great cookbooks, they don’t always make me jump out of my seat to get cooking right away. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, however, did exactly that. Within less than 24 hours of owning this book, I’ve already made four of its recipes.
What I’ve decided to share here is a recipe for easy and healthy homemade granola bars that are based on Smitten Kitchen’s Almond Date Breakfast Bars, minus the dates because Josh is NOT okay with them as an ingredient, and with the addition of a few superfood ingredients, and a bit of naughty chocolate goodness.
If you’ve been interested in trying to make some healthy and delicious granola bars at home, here’s a recipe I definitely recommend! Not only were these super quick and easy to make (also delicious, duh) but they actually held together unlike other recipes I’ve tried recently. Check out my take on these healthy breakfast bars below!
Ps. If you like this you might be into this Gluten Free Granola Recipe too!
Easy Homemade Granola Bars
What You Need:
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 3 tbsp buckwheat flour (or flour of choice)
- 1/3 wheat germ
- 1/2 sliced or slivered almonds
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup almond butter and/or tahini
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- zest of 1 orange
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
What To Do:
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a small baking pan (approximately 8 by 8 inches) with parchment paper or tin foil, allowing the paper or foil to go up the opposing sides. I used my new rectangular ceramic dish in cherry from Staub with tin foil and it worked great!
- In a medium to large bowl, still together all of the dry ingredients. Here’s where I got creative by swapping the dates for dried cranberries, and adding in some of my favourite things like chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes and chocolate. Mix it up as you like!
- In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients until smooth. If you don’t have almond butter (or enough almond butter like I did!) feel free to substitute or mix in tahini or nut butter of your choice.
- Stir the wet mix into the dry mix and combine until everything is evenly coated.
- Spread the combined mixture evenly in your pan and press firmly to make sure it spreads into the bottom, edges and corners. I loved Deb’s tip to use a piece of plastic wrap at this point — not only does it help keep you hands clean but it really helps to press the mix into a super firm and even block.
- Bake the bars for 20-25 minutes until they’re brown around the edges, and don’t be afraid to get a little colour on the tops too — you’ll see mine got nice and toasty all over and they still tasted great!
- Cool the bars before using a knife to cut them into square and removing from the pan.
- These should last a week in your fridge and, according to Deb, freeze well too!