Have I told you guys about my pal Caroline? She's the best. I made her this cake. We met in China and only lived in the same city for about 6 months before she moved on to a dream job in Paris, but in that time we managed to chat for hours upon hours upon hours. We had the ability to talk about anything and everything, from work, to exercise (she got me solidly through my first straight 5k by yelling about zoo animals), travel, food, and every possible thing in between (literally).
In all of that, food was definitely our most common topic for daily discussion. I can wax poetic about food for an unnaturally long time, I mean it's the greatest, right? Luckily, Caroline can do this too. During one of our conversations she mentioned a granola bar recipe that she loves, but hadn't been able to make them due to lack of available ingredients. Somehow that conversation planted itself in the back of my brain and resurfaced recently. And now here we are.
This recipe is exactly what I was looking for. These are dense, chewy, and really help fight those 4:00 hunger pangs. I can see why they were a favourite in her household, because they've quickly become a favourite in ours!
And, just like all my favourite recipes, this one is super flexible, as long as you keep it at a 2:1 ratio for oats to nuts/seeds you're good to go!
Caroline's Favourite Granola Bars (vegan)
6 cup oats (I used old fashioned, but whatever you have will work)
1 cup sesame seeds
1 cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped almonds/pumpkin seeds/sunflower seeds (I used pumpkin seeds only, but play around with your favourite flavours!)
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1 cup nut butter (I used 1/2 cup sweet peanut butter, 1/2 unsweetened almond butter)
1 cup brown rice syrup
2 Tbsp coconut oil
chocolate chips (optional - you can go as high as 2 cups, I used 1 cup, and they can be left out all together if you prefer)
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- In a frying pan on the stovetop, toast the sesame seeds, coconut, and other nuts/seeds until they are fragrant. Set aside to cool.
- In a bowl, combine the nut butter, brown rice syrup, and coconut oil.
- Stir in the oats, flaxseed, and toasted seeds mixture.
- Lastly, add the chocolate chips
- Press firmly into a 9 X 13 pan and bake at 350F for around 15 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. (Note from Caroline: I've had them range from 14-18 min (ish) depending on the oven. The centre will still look soft, but as long as the edges are slightly brown they are ready to take out.)
- Allow to cool completely before slicing. This allows everything to firm up and stick together. This is a very important step... don't rush the process, it's totally worth the wait!
- Slice and enjoy!