I hope the title of this recipe and post is not misleading. I love honey and use it as much as possible, in cooking as well as for other things like curing coughs and colds and skin ailments. I even love to slather honey on my face. In short, I love to use ethically sourced natural honey as much as possible.
The only thing I don't do with honey is to introduce it to any form of heat while cooking. According to Ayurveda, the age old science of medicine and health, when honey is heated and when this form of honey is consumed, it introduces ama or toxins in our bodies.
Since, most granola bar recipes have honey in it, devising a granola bar recipe suitable to my principles of cooking was on my mind for a very long time.
Somehow or the other, granola bars never made an appearance in my kitchen. Despite the fact that the husband loved them and once came to me with a wrapper (with the contents inside happily inside his tummy) asking me to replicate the same. Since, this was years ago it somehow got erased out of my memory.
And then Sandhya, a reader, well versed with the principles of Ayurveda left a comment asking me for a granola bar recipe without honey in it. And this spurred me into action and the result was stupendous!
I experimented with my favourite sweetener jaggery to make these granola bars. Jaggery is the most unrefined and unprocessed form of sugar. It is nutrient rich and has medicinal properties as well. Jaggery binds the ingredients here and gives these granola bars an earthy and natural taste.
I simply loved these granola bars! I put in all my favourite ingredients, almonds, dates and jaggery as well. You could experiment with your favourite nuts and dried fruits in this recipe.
Most store bought granola bars (even those claiming to be natural and organic) are filled with many unhealthy ingredients. These bars are filled with all natural ingredients and they are great for growing children. Besides, these bars are very easy to make and I see them as going into Hari's snackbox as often as possible.
Whether you are a believer of Ayurveda or not, it doesn't matter, I hope you give these bars a try! The nutty, earthy and natural flavours of these nutrient dense bars may win your heart, like they have mine!
Homemade Granola Bars Recipe
You can use your choice of nuts and fruits in this recipe.
200 gm (2 cups) oats (instant oats)
80 gm (½ cup) almonds, chopped
3 tbsp butter or ghee
220 gm (¾ cup) jaggery* (use 1 cup jaggery, if not using the brown sugar)
55 gm (¼ cup) brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
100 gm (½ cups) chopped and pitted dates
90 gm (½ cup) raisins or cashews
2 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
Grease an 8" by 12" baking dish with butter, ghee or neutral flavoured oil and line it with parchment paper.
In a heavy bottomed pan, roast the oats and almonds and cashews if using, until they change colour and give out a toasted aroma. This should take about 8 to 10 minutes. Alternatively, roast the oats and nuts in a 150 C/300F oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Pre heat the oven at 150 C/300F*
In a saucepan, put in the ghee, jaggery and brown sugar and once the jaggery melts, turn off the heat.
Mix in the vanilla extract, oats and all the dry fruits and stir well.
Transfer the mixture into the prepared tin and level the uneven surface with a flat cup. (I use a roti press)
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Allow to cool a little and cut into rectangles or squares while still warm. After the bars completely cool down, you can lift a piece carefully and then remove the others as well.
* You have to use jaggery in block form and not powdered jaggery to get the right texture.
* You can omit the brown sugar if you prefer your granola less sweeter, but your granola maybe crumbly.
* Cook the jaggery for a 2 to 3 minutes, if you dont want to finish the dish in the oven.
Recipe updated on 05.06.2015
Makes 12 rectangular bars
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