January 21: Granola Bar Day

homemade-granola-recipeTo honor all those busy times when a small cereal bar helped you make it through a hectic day at work, start celebrating Granola Bar Day right away!

Nutritious, yummy granola is typically based on rolled oats full of proteins and useful fibers. It’s been an increasingly popular type of breakfast food since the 19th century, but wasn’t compressed into a snack bar before the 1970’s. There’s been a dispute on who invented granola bars, but Stanley Mason remains accredited for creating this compact form out of loose granola by pressing it. To produce a firm bar, granola is bonded with honey, butter or syrups, and it is then baked. The exception are so-called chewy granola bars which are either briefly baked or completely raw.

The biggest fans of granola bars are hikers and other outdoor sporty types whose energy depends on highly nutritious snacks. Although there are no records of how Granola Bar Day started out as a food holiday, we should keep it up to promote a healthier lifestyle. The perfect way to celebrate it is to throw a home-made granola bar party for friends

GRANOLA BAR RECIPE by Ina Gartenpumpkinchocolatechipgranolabars

Ingredients
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions:
Watch how to make this recipe.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.

Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries and stir well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.dashed-blog-divider

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