Each year I, like many others, make New Year’s Resolutions and half-heartedly give up before it even started. In hopes of putting less pressure on the yearly ritual, I decided to make one vague promise: be good to myself.
And with that in mind, I rolled out of bed New Year’s Day, threw on my comfiest yoga outfit and trekked six blocks in the freezing cold (seriously, it was 16° outside) to the gym. During the mediation portion in the beginning of the yoga class, I once again reaffirmed my intention for the year. I left feeling more aligned, and enjoyed a ‘treat yo’ self’ afternoon of sushi lunch specials and a manicure with my sister.
We had planned to stopped at Trader Joe’s to pick up some necessities to start the week, but it was closed. So, I went home, scoured through all the ingredients in my pantry, cleaning out along the way (crainsins that expired in 2015 were promptly tossed out). And as I found a large bag of rolled oats and almonds, I remembered the #10 spot from What’s Gaby Cooking’s list of top 10 recipes from the year, homemade granola bars.
Since I already had everything I needed, it felt like the perfect way to kick off the new year. And as I enjoyed my homemade treat at my desk this morning, I felt like I was already 24 hours into fulfilling my year’s goal.
Happy New Year to all!
Homemade Granola Bars
- 2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup whole almonds, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup dried golden raisins, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, plus extra as needed
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line bottom of a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper. Then lightly spray the parchment with cooking spray.
- Combine the oats and roughly chopped almonds to a small baking sheet then bake 7-10 minutes until lightly toasted. Transfer to a large bowl.
- While the oats are toasting, combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla extract seeds, chia and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until butter melts and the sugar completely dissolves, making sure to stir occasionally. Pour the butter mixture over the toasted oats and almonds and add the cranberries and golden raisins. Mix well. Let cool for 15 minutes then add the mini chocolate chips. Stir to combine.
- Transfer the oat mixture to prepared pan. Using a rubber spatula firmly press the mixture into the pan until the mixture is in a uniform layer. Scatter remaining a few extra tablespoons of mini chocolate chips over the granola bars and use the same rubber spatula to gently press them into the granola so they stick. Transfer the entire pan to the refrigerator and chill for 2 hours.
- After the granola has cooled completely, gently lift it out of the pan using the parchment paper as handles and cut it into squares or bars. Serve as needed.