What is it with vegans and bulk foods? It’s like the second we walk into a store that has a hugeass bulk section all sensible reasoning shuts down and we go into a bit of a frenzy. Admit it, you know you linger in that section of the store. It’s like a bloody sirens song luring you over when you damn well know that you don’t need to buy anything else. There’s always that little voice in the back of your head saying “yes! I totally need soy lecithin. I don’t know what it is but I can totally find something to do with it!”……only to find a stray bag of mystery “grain” 6 months from now with no notion of what it actually is.
A Bulk Barn opened up a few weeks ago that’s pretty close to our house. We we’re randomly driving by some shopping area one day when I yelled straight into Philip’s ear “oh my god!”, Philip “What?!”, me “they opened a Bulk Barn near our House!”, Philip “oh yeah, I thought I saw that the other day…”. As you can tell, he obviously did not share in my enthusiasm. Of course, the second I noticed my supply of walnuts was running low, I was out the door and headed straight for the beacon of all things bulk. I’m proud to admit that I DID end up leaving with walnuts, unlike, say, when I head to Costco to get something, only to leave $300 lighter with no idea why I went there in the first place. I also left with a long list of other items that I probably didn’t NEED but figured I was probably running short on (I’m pretty sure there are at least 6 bags of cashews floating around in various fridges, freezers and pantries in our house right about now), but on top of all those things I already have a stock of, I also found some new items. I’m pretty sure I had a big stupid grin on my face when I stumbled upon the dried fruit section, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, I had to have them all! And so I did 🙂
I did feel kind of guilty buying all that dried fruit for no reason at all, so I decided to create one. Good old reliable granola bars, is there anything you can’t do? Granola bars are the easiest and tastiest way to utilize that dried fruit stash hiding in your pantry. To use up some of those raspberries, blackberries and strawberries, and to incorporate one of my favorite ingredients (peanut butter!) I decided to make Peanut Butter & Jelly Granola Bars. This has got to be my favorite granola bar to date! Sweet, chewy bursts of fruit mixed with nutty oats and crunchy peanuts. These things are stacked with wholesome goodness and make for a pretty killer way to start your morning…and snacktime..and hell, even dinner! You know, when you’re feeling unbelievable lazy and only a bowl of cereal will do, well now you have granola bars 🙂
PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY GRANOLA BARS
- 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) GF or regular rolled oats
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1/3 cup (2 ounces) raw peanuts
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (0.7 ounces) ground flax seed
- 2 tablespoons (0.6 ounces) cocoa nibs
- 2/3 cup (0.8 ounces) puffed rice
- 2/3 cup (4 ounces) dried strawberries, raspberries, blackberries or cherries
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup (3.5 ounces) peanut butter
- 1/2 cup (4.5 ounces( brown rice syrup
- 2 tablespoons (2 ounces) maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- Toss the oats, peanuts and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 12 minutes, stirring once halfway. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl, let cool slightly and stir in the remaining dry ingredients. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
- In a double boiler mix the peanut butter, brown rice syrup and maple syrup. Heat and mix until smooth, remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix until everything is well coated.
- Pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish and press it in (with wet fingers and/or a silicon spatula) until the mixture is packed as tightly as possible.
- Bake for 18 minutes, until light golden brown.
- Cool for 2 to 3 hours (or cool in fridge) before removing from pan and cutting into 12 squares.
You can store these in an airtight container at room temperature for a week or two, as you would cookies, however, I prefer to store mine in the freezer. I find that they stay the most crisp this way as all granola tends to soften at room temperature after a day or more.
Submitted to Wellness Weekend