*** Update October 2, 2015***
These bars deserve to be revisited.
My original post said we don’t buy processed snack foods. What a cute thing for me to say. Clearly this was before my children expressed such intense preferences in food. My kids are picky. How does a food blogger have children who won’t eat pizza? For real, my kids despise it. At least they’ll eat peanut butter oatmeal cookie bars with me. AT LEAST. Whatevs, we roll with it. I always remind myself that I grew up eating a strict diet of pasta and cinnamon rolls. Maybe a bagel here or there. I grew out of it, and they will too. Or not. Again, we roll with it. Too many other battles to fight.
Now these bars. Make them. Eat them. And IF you have any leftovers, throw them in a ziplock bag in the freezer and eat them for months to come. I’m envisioning a slice of pumpkin pie, topped with homemade buttermilk ice cream, then these bars crumbled right on top. Heavenly.
This week has been about me re-creating foods from my childhood. Like hamburger helper, classy! Granola bars were our quintessential snack growing up. Well, that and goldfish. An apple, orange or carrots, psssh, that’s just crazy talk. Unless it was a processed carbs that came ina box, we probably didn’t eat it. Even when I got married I’d still buy granola bars as a snack. And box brownies, and sometimes even fruit by the foot. I was only 21, what can ya do. Rhetorical. To this day if you put a carton of goldfish in front of me, I won’t turn ya down. They have powers over me, like ice cream. Which is one reason we don’t buy them, except this one time. But that’s for another post.
Even though we don’t buy processed snacky food anymore, we still like to snack. Just on things like fruit, carrots, almonds, you know, the healthier stuff. But sometimes we want a sweet, not healthy, but oh sooooo good snack. Something you can eat in the car on the go, or in the backyard while you’re playing with your kid, or crumble over ice cream (because I snack on ice cream, yes I do!). These bars can pretty much be eaten anytime of the day and you don’t have to feel totally guilty because they aren’t AS bad for you as the packaged ones. Ya, they still have sugar and oil, but the more natural stuff, so it’s all good. HEAR ME NOW: I am NOT SAYING THIS IS HEALTH FOOD. For the freaking love, an apple is health food, granola bars aren’t. But they’re the lesser of 2 evils. So we like them.
With each bite Jon kept commenting how insane these bars are. He even said they were one of the best things I’ve ever made. Ok, that’s a bit far, buddy. But I get your point, they’re super duper good. So make some and see for yourself. Share them with your neighbors, friends and kids. They’ll appreciate the delicious homemade treat. And if you’re feeling EXTRA generous, bring them some ice cream too! Because these bars really are wonderful crumbled on ice cream. Or in a bowl of chocolate milk. Yep, granola bars crumbled in chocolate milk, get on it, it’s magical.
The bars are really versitile and most of the ingredients can be substituted. While it will slightly change the taste or consistency depending on what you substitute, they’ll still be essentially the same bars.
Coconut: you can try unsweetened, but I know the sugar of the sweetened coconut lends to some of the caramelizing and crunchiness of the bars.
Flax Meal: use almond meal or any type of flour instead
Vegetable oil: try melted butter or coconut oil instead
Agave: use real maple syrup, honey or even corn syrup instead