New Mama Meals: Homemade Chewy Granola Bars

A big welcome to Laurie from the blog Relishing It for the latest post in our New Mama Meals Series. I’m not sure how I first connected with Laurie, but I love her blog. She uses lots of local and seasonal ingredients, and I’m constantly pinning her recipes to try later. Plus, her photography makes me jealous gives me something to shoot for (pun!). I’m really excited about these granola bars, because I’ve chewed my way through probably 8 boxes of very mediocre store-bought bars during our 2 a.m. feedings these last few weeks, desperate for anything that can be eaten one-handed, as this little boy sucks the food right out of me. What a good idea, Laurie! Thanks for posting!

 

I’m so excited to be the guest blogger on Carpe´ Season today! I’m Laurie from Relishing It, and since I’m writing this post, it means that Liz and Eric are enjoying their new little babe. I clearly remember that exciting, crazy time when that first child arrives. I figured I’d post a recipe that that got me and some of my closest girlfriends through those exhausting first few months with a newborn.

One of the best gifts you can give new parents is nourishing food. I remember when we brought my little boy home from the hospital that– along with the excitement– I couldn’t believe I had to take care of him and continue to function as a normal person. It seemed impossible at times. That little guy took up every ounce of my attention. How was I supposed to have time to feed myself? I’m guessing most new mothers have felt the same way.

One of my solutions was this magical granola bar. They’re perfect for when you realize it’s mid-morning and you haven’t had a second to eat. They’re also substantial and convenient enough that you can snack on these little gems while you feed your baby. These granola bars are packed with healthy whole grains, dried fruits, and nuts. And while they aren’t meant to be a substitute for all of those fresh vegetables and fruits that a new mom needs, they’re filling, and a great source of energy between meals.

Aside from the convenience, let me state for the record that these are the best granola bars I’ve ever eaten. Period. They’re crisp on the outside, with a wonderful, chewy center. The oats, honey, nuts, and fruits are brilliant. I also loved the subtle flavor from the coconut oil. Now I generally don’t use corn syrup in my recipes, but I made an exception here. These bars needed some sort of “goo” to hold all those wonderful ingredients together, and I wanted ensure that they kept that soft interior. I ended up limiting the corn syrup to just two tablespoons, and the results were phenomenal.

These granola bars are the perfect gift to take to someone that has just had a baby. They are the perfect snack that a sleep-deprived– though blissfully happy– new mama needs. Trust me, she’ll be so thankful. Congratulations, again, Liz! And thanks again for letting me stop by and pass on these little treats.

 

New Mama Meals: Homemade Chewy Granola Bars

New Mama Meals: Homemade Chewy Granola Bars

(recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour via Smitten Kitchen via Relishing It)

(yields 9 square bars from an 8x8 inch pan)

These homemade granola bars are hearty and healthy, packed with whole grain - the perfect snack for a new mom!

Ingredients

1 2/3 cups rolled oats

1/3 cup oat flour

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup honey or maple syrup

1/4 cup peanut or almond butter

3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1 tablespoon water

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons flax meal

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds)

1 cup dried fruit ( I used dried cherries and golden raisins)

1/3 cup pepitas

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F.

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Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper, making sure to let it hang over the sides a bit. Butter the parchment paper. Set aside.

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In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and coconut oil. Remove from heat and add the peanut butter, honey, light corn syrup, and water. Stir to mix. Set aside.

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In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients, including the nuts and dried fruit. Stir with a spoon. Pour the wet ingredients over and dry and stir with a wooden spoon.

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Pour the granola mixture into the prepared baking pan and push it down a bit with your hands. Place into the oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes. The mixture should be a deep golden brown around the edges and golden in the middle. Remove from oven. It may seem as though the granola bars are a bit under baked at first, but they will firm up as they cool. If you like, place them in the refrigerator so the "goo" can really set up, making cutting them even easier.

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The granola bars store well for days. Keep them in an airtight container or in a plastic bag. Individually wrapping them in plastic wrap works great, too. Enjoy!

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