Between the breakfast section in my new Sweet & Skinny cookbook and the Healthy Breakfast competition I am overseeing with Tetra Pak, I have been thinking a lot about ways to make breakfast fun and good for you! One of my favorite recipes is for these simple do it yourself granola bars. They are great because you can add whatever ingredients you want. Personally I like to make mine with flaxseeds (for a dose of Omega3’s) or with puffed quinoa cereal (for extra protein). Usually I add goji berries or apricots for something sweet, but depending on my mood I also sometimes add pineapple (for a dose of vitamin C and Bromelain). If you come up with your own tasty and creative combination please let me know. I’m always looking for new inspiration!
Do it Yourself Granola Bars
1 1/3 cup oats
1/2 cup flax seeds or puffed quinoa cereal
1/3 cup almonds or walnuts, chopped
1 cup dried fruit, such as apricots and goji berries
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup apple juice
2 tablespoons honey
¼ cup sunflower oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly grease a 7×11 pan and line the bottom with parchment paper, set aside.
Spread the oats, flax seeds, and almonds out on a baking tray. Toast the ingredients in the oven for about 8 minutes, or until fragrant and the nuts are golden.
Meanwhile, pour the brown sugar, apple juice, honey, oil, vanilla and salt into a large pot and cook over medium heat. Allow the mixture to simmer for about 10 minutes, until thick and syrupy. Remove from the heat and pour the remaining ingredients into the pot and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and press it into the pan with a spatula. Work quickly, it will set up fast. Allow the bars to cool for about 20 minutes. While they are still slightly pliable, cut the bars into 12 pieces and wrap tightly. Store the bars at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
(Photo from Sweet & Skinny with Marisa, taken by Ioanna Rofopoulou)