Originally, I was going to tell you the story of my early morning gym trips. How I get up, get dressed, drink some water and eat a little something. How I haven’t found the right little something to snack on pre-gym, something that’s quick to prepare and eat. Something that is simultaneously filling enough to fuel my workout, but light enough that I don’t feel weighed down. I was going to tell you that this led me to make these granola bars, filled with nuts and oats and coconut and dried cherries.
But then I was running low on both honey and brown rice syrup, so I used maple syrup instead. This was the downfall of the granola bars. Instead of sticking together in bar form, it crumbled apart into little chunks of granola.
The thing is, I should have known better. Maple syrup has a much higher water content (about 33%) than honey (less than 20%) or brown rice syrup. Of course it isn’t going to be as sticky and won’t hold oats and nuts together as well as the other sweeteners. But I forged ahead anyways. Oh well, at least we have some delicious granola now.
But next time, I’ll experiment with using half maple syrup and half honey or brown rice syrup. Or I’ll skip the maple syrup altogether and stick with one of the other two.
Feel free to make your own flavor substitutions: replace the cherries with dried currants or raisins, sub in pecans for the walnuts, or even add some chocolate chips.
- 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 3/4 cup dried Bing cherries
- 1/2 cup chopped almonds
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons arrowroot powder
- Preheat the oven to 325F and line a 9x13" baking pan with parchment paper.
- Mix the oats, walnuts, coconut flakes, cherries and almonds together. I like to do this right in the baking pan to cut down on dishes.
- Whisk the coconut oil, maple syrup and arrowroot powder together in a small saucepan and heat over medium-low. Once it is bubbly around the edges, allow to heat for another 1-2 minutes.
- Stir the syrup into the dry ingredients. There should be no dry ingredients left-- everything should be coated. Spread the granola into an even layer in the baking pan.
- Lay a second piece of parchment paper over the top of the granola and press down with a heavy pan. If you don't have a heavy pan that fits your baking pan, use your hands or a wooden spoon instead.
- Remove the top piece of parchment paper. Bake the granola at 325F for 25 minutes, until crisp. Allow to cool completely before breaking the granola into chunks.
Make Ahead and Storage
Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.