Nothing says romance like a 4am wake up and a 6 hour travel day, right? WRONG. We flew home from Jackson, Wyoming yesterday, and Valentine's Day was probably the furthest thing from my mind.
We spent an unbelievably amazing week skiing at Jackson Hole, with epic snow conditions, ideal weather, and super friendly local people. In anticipation of long, physically demanding days on the slopes, I baked up a batch of granola bars before we left Toronto. These bars were packed with nuts, seeds, dried fruit and peanut butter - perfect for a quick hit of energy while riding up in the "Gondi" (as the locals call it). The bars stayed firm and held their shape in transit, and didn't loose any of their freshness, flavour or crunch over the course of the week. Whether you're a skier or not, these bars are a great alternative to store bought granola bars. So hit the kitchen, chop some nuts, and get cooking.
SLOPE SIDE GRANOLA BARS // makes about 12 bars, 9x13 baking dish
Adapted from Whole Grain Mornings "Trail Guide Nut and Seed Bars"
Preheat oven to 325.
3/4 cup brown rice syrup (or honey)
3/4 cup canola oil
3 tbsp maple syrup
3/4 cup almond or peanut butter (I used chunky all natural PB)
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup cashews, chopped
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
3 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup oat bran
1 tsp cinnamon
*Note: All nuts and seeds should be raw, not toasted.
What to do:
Prep all your nuts, seeds and dried fruit, combine in a (very) large bowl and set aside.
In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the rice syrup, oil and maple syrup. Once it begins to simmer, remove from the heat and the nut butter and vanilla. (If your nut butter is too hard to whisk, either pre melt it in the microwave, or add it to the mixture before removing the pot from the heat).
Add the oats, bran and cinnamon to the nut bowl. Use your hands to thoroughly combine all the ingredients. Gently pour the warm syrup over the oats and stir, being sure to coat all the oats/seeds/etc.
Butter your baking dish, and carefully transfer the oat mixture over. Using the back of a measuring cup or spatula, press the mixture down into the pan.
Bake until the edges are golden brown, 30-35 minutes. The bars will crisp up as they cool.
Let the dish stand for about 2 hours before cutting in squares and wrapping individually.