I’m not sure why “granola” is used as an adjective synonymous to “hippie-leaning,” “left-wing,” “health-nut,” and other hyphenated words connoted with liberalism and nutrition.
Oats are a whole grain, but doused in maple syrup/honey/brown sugar/etc., granola can often turn deliciously naughty and dessert-like. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; I would have a slice of chocolate cake for breakfast every morning if there were a way to make a large batch ahead of time that would last for a few weeks.
That’s why I make granola. My favorite is Melissa Clark’s. But whereas granola is orgasmic sprinkled over whole-fat yogurt with some sliced peaches, raspberries, and banana, it’s a bit harder to satiate away-from-home granola cravings.
This is where granola bars come to the rescue. Instead of having to force surreptitious handfuls of loose granola into your mouth, trying to not get embarrassed when onlookers judge you for eating every last flake of toasted rolled oat, you can proudly unwrap a gold-ingot-sized bar and munch into it nonchalantly. And if you pick your recipe wisely, unlike the sweet breakfast-dessert of granola and yogurt, a granola bar can feasibly be passed off as a snack.
So maybe these bars are hippie-centric, after all. Don’t worry, though, they haven’t proselytized me too extremely; my Birkenstocks are safely stuffed away.
Granola Protein Bars
adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook
2 1/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup vanilla protein powder
1 cup dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the oats and almonds on a rimmed sheet and bake until toasted, about 10 minutes. Cool.
In a large bowl mix the brown rice syrup, water, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Add the oat/nut mixture and the protein powder, stir. Mix in the cranberries.
Press mixture into a parchment-lined 8x8 pan. Bake until toasted, 25-30 minutes.
Cool completely before cutting into rectangles; I like to store mine in individually separated segments stored in plastic wrap.