11.10.2013

Genmaicha Granola Bars

photo by Yunhee Kim 


I really admire the women (and a handful of guys) I work with at Real Simple  they're funny, smart, totally real people who actually care about one another. Take Jackie, for instance, our deputy managing editor. When I wrote a email to note where'd I'd be next week (everywhere but in the office, between shoots in Birmingham and NYC), she wrote back: "What a week! Take a vitamin." 

For the week I have ahead, I might need more than a vitamin. I need constant, never-failing energy. That's when I turn to the granola bars in my new book, Feast. I took painstaking efforts to perfect them, because, let's face it, granola bars can be a real let down. Sometimes, though, you actually do need food on the goand the right granola bar is just the thing for that. It should be sustaining, absolutely satisfying, and with enough energy to last until the next meal, whenever that might (or might not) be. 

That's this guy. The meat of it: grains, nuts and seeds, like oats, millet, pepitas, sesame seeds and whole almonds, held together by dates, maple syrup and honey, which also work as natural sweeteners. These bars sustained me through wedding planning, book writing, baby rearing, and weeks of back-to-back video shoots among other things (long road trips, epic bike rides, and hikes I thought might never end). 

My hope for you is simpler. I hope these make the effort (and it's a little one, you'll see) to tackle DIY granola bars worthwhile; and that you'll find them addictively good and delightful to make, eat and share. Some days, they're better than a vitamin. 

A last little note: Genmaicha green tea leaves with roasted brown rice (found in Asian markets and specialty tea shops) adds depth, a malty richness, and a caffeine boost to these granola barsbut it's not essential. If you can’t find it, skip it. I love them either way. 

GENMAICHA GRANOLA BARS | MAKES 8 TO 10 

2 cups/170 g old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup/60 g millet
1/3 cup/30 g raw sunflower seeds
2 tbsp raw unseasoned pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/3 cup/50 g toasted pecans
1/3 cup/50 g toasted skin-on almonds
1 packed cup pitted Medjool dates
1/3 cup/75 ml Grade B maple syrup, plus more as needed
1/4 cup/60 ml honey or brown rice syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp genmaicha tea leaves (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325°F/165°C/gas 3. Line an 8-in/20-cm square baking pan with parchment paper with overlapping flaps.

Stir together the oats, millet, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.

Pulse the pecans and almonds in a food processor until coarsely chopped (it’s OK if some nuts are coarsely ground and a little powdery). Stir into the oat mixture.

Pulse the dates in a food processor until a thick paste forms. Add the maple syrup, honey, and vanilla, and pulse until a purée forms. Scrape out the purée with a rubber spatula and stir into the oats mixture. Continue stirring (your clean hands work best), adding the tea leaves if using, until the oats and nuts are sticky and coated with the purée. If the mixture doesn’t clump together easily, add up to 1 tbsp of maple syrup.

Transfer the granola to the prepared baking pan and press into a smooth, even layer. Bake until just starting to brown around the edges, about 25 minutes. Transfer to the counter to cool slightly in the baking pan, about 15 minutes. Grab the flaps of parchment paper and lift out the whole batch transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 8 to 10 bars while still warm. Let them cool completely and serve, or store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite 

9 comments:

Heather Christo said...

I absolutely love all of the vegetarian protein in these, and am OBSESSED with the idea of caffeine in a granola bar! Bring it on...

Kate Ramos said...

Oh, yum! These look incredible. I might have everything to make them in my pantry right now! If you can't tell I'm smiling wickedly.

Sarah Welle said...

These look beautiful!

Kasey said...

These sound amazing and I actually have gegmaicha in my pantry! So excited to try these..and everything else in your book! Take those vitamins.. ;)

Mallory Frayn said...

Love these! They look so seedy and delicious!

Sarah Copeland said...

Hi Mallory-I love that description! Thanks for the note. Sarah, thank you, too! Kasey, taking my vitamins, promise. Let me know if you make these, can't wait to hear! Kate, I am smiling imagining your wicked smile. :) Heather--caffeine, I fought it for so long but after three years of too-little sleep (thank you, baby girl), I'm embracing. bring it on, indeed.

Sarah Copeland said...

Hi Mallory-I love that description! Thanks for the note. Sarah, thank you, too! Kasey, taking my vitamins, promise. Let me know if you make these, can't wait to hear! Kate, I am smiling imagining your wicked smile. :) Heather--caffeine, I fought it for so long but after three years of too-little sleep (thank you, baby girl), I'm embracing. bring it on, indeed.

Neeli said...

Last year, a close friend gifted me your cookbook, Feast. I have been cooking from it all year and I truly adore it and your style. I just made these and they are everything I have ever wanted out of a homemade granola bar. Thanks!

Sarah Copeland said...

Neeli, thank you so much for this kind comment! I'm thrilled you are enjoying the book, that you made my granola bar, and that they delivered. Hooray! I so appreciate you taking the time to write and tell me so.

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New York City, United States
Sarah Copeland is a food and lifestyle expert, and the author of Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, and The Newlywed Cookbook. She is the Food Director at Real Simple magazine, and has appeared in numerous national publications including Saveur, Health, Fitness, Shape, Martha Stewart Living and Food & Wine magazines. As a passionate gardener, Sarah's Edible Living philosophy aims to inspire good living through growing, cooking and enjoying delicious, irresistible whole foods. She thrives on homegrown veggies, stinky cheese and chocolate cake. Sarah lives in New York with her husband and their young daughter.