I love love love granola. Crunchy and nutty with bits of dried fruit. It’s amazing. Recently, gerontologist I bought some Udi’s Original Granola and have been slightly obsessed with it ever since. The secret is cashews and banana chips. You know those crisp, sweetened banana chips that are usually in the nut section of the grocery store? I’m talking about those. They’re amazing in granola. They’re amazing paired with toasted cashews.
Udi’s was my inspiration for these homemade granola bars. Honestly, I always thought granola bars would be a bit of a pain in the — um, yeah — to make. But they’re really not. It took me under 30 minutes start to finish and the hardest part was chopping the cashews (and washing the dishes). Simply toast some nuts, boil some syrup, mix everything together in a big bowl and pour them into a baking dish. They’re just as easy as rice krispy treats, only infinitely more healthful and satisfying.
Banana Chocolate Granola Bars
These keep in the fridge for up to a week. They get pretty messy/sticky when left out (especially since it’s so darn hot out right now).
1 tsp. butter
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 1/2 cups cashews, coarsely chopped
1 cup banana chips, chopped
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups brown rice crisp cereal (sold at Whole Foods and other “natural” stores, or substitute Rice Krispy cereal)
1 cup brown rice syrup (sold at Whole Foods and other “natural” stores)
1/4 cup Grade B maple syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or dark chocolate chunks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 325°. Spread the almonds and cashews on a cookie sheet and toast them in the oven for 6 – 8 minutes, or until they start to brown a bit. Remove from oven and let cool.
In the meantime, grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with the butter and set aside. Now, mix the oats, rice cereal, banana chips and chocolate chunks in a big bowl. Add the nuts once they’ve cooled.
In a small saucepan, heat the syrups, salt and vanilla extract over medium-high heat, stirring to avoid burning. Once the syrups come to a light boil, continue to cook for an additional 3 – 5 minutes until the syrup begins to thicken, then pour it over the oats and nuts. Mix everything together so that the syrup evenly coats everything in the bowl. Your chocolate chunks may melt at this point, but that doesn’t matter – it’ll just spread the chocolate-y love throughout.
While it’s still warm, pour the contents of the bowl into your prepared baking dish. Using a rubber spatula, pat everything down so it’s nice and compacted. Let cool to room temperature. You can also put them in the fridge for a bit since this’ll make cutting easier.
Cut them into square or rectangles as you please.