Last year after much trial and error I came up with a granola bar recipe that I was pretty happy with. But then a coworker started buying these super delicious energy bars by the case. They were basically just nuts and pretzels stuck together with brown rice syrup. I made a mental note to try to make such a bar myself. Then a few months later I discovered yet another delicious energy bar. It was teeny tiny and cost about three dollars and was really just sliced almonds and coconut flakes glued together with brown rice syrup. I like to think that I’m not the kind of sucker who buys three dollar energy bars, so I figured it was time I made my own.
I thought about making them with just nuts, but I decided to add some oats to make them a little more nutritionally balanced. What I came up with is much simpler than any of my earlier experiments, and it worked perfectly. They hold together, they’re nice and chewy, and they’re not too sweet.
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
- 1 cup raw pecan halves
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup brown rice syrup
- 3 tablespoons honey
Line a 9-inch square baking dish with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spread the oats, almonds, and pecans on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in the oven for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the almonds are just beginning to turn golden. Add the coconut and put the baking sheet back in the oven for another couple minutes, until the coconut is golden brown. Keep an eye on it. The coconut will brown very quickly. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the salt. Combine the honey and the brown rice syrup in a small sauce pan. Cook over medium heat for 3 or 4 minutes, just until the syrup thins out. Remove from heat and pour over the nut mixture. Stir well until everything is well coated with the syrup.
Spread the granola evenly in the prepared pan. Place another piece of parchment paper on top and press the granola into the pan. Be sure to pack the whole thing down really well, all the way to the edges. Refrigerate until cooled completely. Transfer to a cutting board and peel off the parchment paper. using a sharp, heavy knife, cut the square into 5 or 6 strips, then cut the strips in half crosswise to make 10 or 12 bars. I like to wrap them individually in waxed paper so that they’re easy to just grab and take to work.