I fully admit I spoil my kids rotten when it comes to food. I’m often caught making fresh cut fries an hour before bedtime or whipping up cupcakes for breakfast. My husband and I always joke that we are our kids slaves. In a sense I suppose we are. Google’s definition of slave; “a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them” and “work excessively hard”. I’d have to say we are definitely slaves to our kids in that case.
The combination of these granola bars was basically a result of Georges not being able to decide which snack he’d like and stirring a bit of trouble. The king couldn’t decide what he wanted. Chocolate chips? Speculoos cookies? Popcorn? Pistachios? He requested I serve it all. Which I did…Chocolate chips, pistachios, sunflower seeds (had to sneak in something healthy), speculoos cookies and popcorn. All separated in bowls. I left the room momentarily and upon returning, I noticed Georges had combined everything into one of those small bowls. Of course much of it had spilt over onto the sofa and rug which was immediately hoovered by our forever starving labrador.
The melange was pretty much like a fun trail mix meets Poppy cock . And so….fast forward, a few days later, I decided to translate this accidental ‘party’ mix into a granola bar. Definitely adding the cookie bits, popcorn and chocolate give it that fun factor that I think granola bars always lack.
The speculoos could be swapped out for a different type of cookie. Oreo, graham crackers, gingersnaps…perhaps even cinnamon toast crunch cereal?! This recipe calls for pistachios and walnuts, but pretty much any type of nut will work. I do like the pistachios for the salty touch however, even salted almonds or pecans can be wonderful. Same goes for the sunflower seeds. Can be pumpkin seeds, chia or hemp or even a mixture. Be creative!
- 180 g or 2 cups of pure oatmeal
- 125 g or 1 cup shelled salted pistachios
- 125 g or 1 cup shelled walnuts
- 300 g or 2 cups toasted and salted sunflower seeds
- 150 g or 1 cup dried cranberries
- 70 g or 1/2 cup black or white sesame seeds
- 175 g or 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
- 200 g or about 28 speculoos cookies (can be subbed with graham crackers of oreo cookies without the cream or cereal)
- 2 tablespoons popcorn kernels popped in paperbag in microwave oven for about 2 minutes
- 1 cup 100% Agave syrup
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 75 g 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 sheet of 23K gold (OPTIONAL)
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- On baking tray lined with parchment paper, spread out the oatmeal and any untoasted nuts
- Bake for 8-10 minutes stirring halfway until oatmeal and nuts look lightly toasted
- Remove from oven and put in large bowl to cool
- Line a 12 x 16 inch baking tray with parchment paper with two sides hanging out (for easy removal once granola has been baked) and lightly grease with vegetable oil
- In skillet, over medium heat, melt the butter, add the vanilla, salt, agave and corn syrup and stir until butter has melted and everything has been combined- set aside
- Break the speculoos into small bite size pieces and add to nut/oatmeal mix
- Then add the rest of the dry ingredients, the sunflower seeds, cranberries, sesame seeds, pistachios, popped popcorn and the chocolate chips once the oatmeal/nuts have cooled
- Toss the mixture with the syrup/butter mix with large wooden spoon
- Spread granola into the parchment paper lined tray and pressed down well.
- Bake in 350F for 15 minutes
- Once bars have completely cooled, remove from tray and with a very sharp knife cut into 4 inch by 3 inch bars or whatever size bars you desire
- Lightly place some 23K Gold OPTIONAL
- Bake for 20 minutes for drier and firmer granola squares and for chewy, less formed bars, bake for less time.