A Working Man’s Granola Bar

Granola Bars

“I am starving!  I haven’t eaten for hours.”

I walk in the living room to find Tom sitting on a chair by the door kicking off his muddy boots and peeling back layers of dusty clothes.  He casually drops them at his feet and heads straight for the kitchen.

As he passes me I glance back toward the mess by the door.  That will have to come later.  I know that “I haven’t eaten for hours” means since lunch, which was 6-7 hours ago.

“You know, you really need to bring a snack to work for the afternoons.”

“I don’t have time to clean up and sit down to eat something at 4 pm.  We are getting ready to go.  Then there is the commute home.  No time.  I need something I can eat while I work, that will give me enough energy to finish the day, and it has to have a wrapper because my hands get filthy.” To prove his point he holds up ten stained fingers and heads to the sink with a bottle of orange scrub.

Hmmm, a healthy, non-perishable, energy powerhouse that is hand-held with a wrapper…  Granola Bars, of course!

Granola Bars

Granola Bars

(This recipe is adapted from Alton Brown’s Granola Bars)

  • 2 cups of old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup of raw sunflower seeds, without shells
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/8 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of various dried fruit and nuts.  I used 1/2 each of raisins, cashews and walnuts.  But you could use any other dried fruit or nut.  Just chop them up first.
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips for mixing in bars
  • 1/2 – 1 cup chocolate chips for melting on top of bars

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9×9 inch pan.

2.  Spread the oats, seeds and nuts onto a cookie sheet.  Toast in the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Be sure to stir everything around occasionally for even browning.

Nuts and SeedsNuts and Seeds

3.  While those are toasting combine the honey, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat.  Stir slowly with a wire whisk until the brown sugar is completely dissolved.

4.  When the oats and nuts are done reduce the heat of the oven to 300F and add them to the sugar mixture in the saucepan.  Add the dried fruit and stir well to completely coat everything in the honey sugar mixture.  Add 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.  Mix gently to combine.  Its okay if they melt a little just try to keep some chunks of chocolate in there.  Dump everything into the 9×9 pan and pat it down flat.

5.  Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips over the top.  Let them sit for a few minutes until the have turned a darker color.  Spread the melted chocolate chips over the top of the bars.  Allow to cool on the counter then refrigerate for a couple of hours until the chocolate hardens.  When the chocolate has hardened remove the bars from the pan and cut into 16 squares.  Wrap each individually in plastic wrap and store on the counter for up to a week.


Granola Bars