Chewy Cherry Coconut Granola Bars
Let’s talk about weaknesses. Not to sound like a job interview, but I think it’s important to own up to what we struggle with. I’ll go first.
Hi, I’m Katie, and I’m bad with measurements, math, and grey areas.
Whew, it feels good to get that off my chest. Let’s dig deeper, shall we?
Measurements: I cannot eyeball anything to save my life. I boil water for pasta and it takes 20 minutes because I completely fill the pot just to make SURE I have enough water. If I don’t do this, I never have enough water. Girl can’t win.
Math: I hesitate to even share this, but when I go to a restaurant, I take a long pause before filling out tip and calculating the total on my dinner tab. Sometimes I pretend I’m just having trouble deciding what percentage to tip. I’ll ask my dining mate, “How much are you tipping? 15%? 20%? I guess the server was pretty nice…” just to buy myself a bit more precious time. Once it’s all said and done, I sometimes need to cross things out and start again. As a reminder, I’m almost 27.
Grey Areas: Herein lies the heart of my personality. When I like things, I LOVE them, and when I dislike things, I despise them. For instance, it’s well known among my friends that purple is my favorite color. This is general knowledge not because I talk about it regularly, but because all the accessories I own are purple. In college I would literally walk down the hallway with a purple shirt, purple scarf, and purple backpack, holding my purple phone, without even realizing/caring how ridiculous I looked. Another recent lack of grey area can be seen in my newfound love for Revenge. Once I started watching it, I pretty much only stopped for sleep and work. I even watched it at the gym on my phone. This is my life.
As I’ve hinted before, my food phases echo this black and white thinking as well. For instance, I’ve made a variation of this granola every week since I posted that recipe. I eat it for breakfast, I eat it for a snack, I think about it when it’s not around. This past Sunday, things got real when I found myself making both granola and granola bars within the span of four hours.
I argue that I had a completely legit excuse, of course. The boy’s weakness is remembering to eat food, which is pretty ironic since he’s with me, and I eat all the time. I’ll come home and ask what he’s feeling like for dinner, and his response will be, “Oh yeah, I am kind of hungry. I haven’t eaten anything today.” What? How? Why?
I figured I’d make eating as easy as possible by providing a quick snack option. With these granola bars, he needs to only see the tupperware (which I’ve placed in the middle of the kitchen counter for easy access), open the lid, lift the bar to his mouth, and eat it. He may call me a hippie for my granola obsession, but at least I’m a persistent one.
Aaaand fine maybe I wanted a new afternoon snack for this week. These granola bars combine all of my current obsessions: oats, almonds, almond butter, coconut, and dried cherries. It took all my strength and self-discipline to leave out the white chocolate chips I had just purchased, but I did it, and it turns out they weren’t even necessary. These are sweet, chewy, and have a bit of a tart punch from the cherries. I also love the THICKNESS of these bars. None of those willy nilly itty bitty bars for me. No thanks. If it’s 3pm snack time, or if I just have a hankering for oats, which has happened a lot lately, this right here is exactly what I want.
I ate one while I took pictures, I ate one yesterday a half hour before lunch to avoid the angry hunger effect, and I ate one for dessert last night after an absurdly huge falafel sandwich. I also have one sitting in my desk drawer just in case the craving hits. Always prepared.
Now the real question: Has the boy embraced granola bars as a potential daytime snack? Like, before we eat dinner at 8pm? Yes! He even said I should make more (MORE) for his next deer camp trip because he needs quick food for when he’s up in a deer stand all day. Look at him planning ahead with food. I’m so proud.
Chewy Cherry Coconut Granola Bars
Adapted from the amazing Smitten Kitchen.
Makes 12 bars.
- 1 2/3 cup oats
- 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons wheat germ
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup dried cherries
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- 3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 6 tablespoons coconut oil (measured solid)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine the oats, flour, sugar, wheat germ, flaxseed, salt, cinnamon, cherries, almonds, and coconut in a bowl.
- In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil and then remove from the heat source. Whisk in the honey, corn syrup, vanilla and water.
- Pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients, and stir to combine. Make sure all dry ingredients are moistened.
- Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment, and pour the bar mixture into the pan. Use another piece of parchment or saran wrap to firmly press the bars down into the pan.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
- Allow to cool completely, and then cut into bars.
Note: After referencing my own recipes for Pad Thai and Baked Cream Cheese Jalapeno Wontons this week, I realized it’s hard to make recipes when you have to scroll through pictures (how annoying, right?). SO, to remedy this, I’m trying this new post layout. Let me know what you think! :)