The past few weeks have been very long and exhausting and i wanted to de-stress by baking something. Yes, that’s what i do, baking to me is like massage therapy for many. I remembered this book that i had borrowed from the library 10 days ago and saw a recipe for almond date breakfast bars, the picture was so pretty that i wanted to bake them right away. I really liked that this recipe didn’t have any butter or sugar and used olive oil instead of some fancy nut oil. Upon reading the recipe, i discovered i didn’t have the core ingredients listed and therefore decided to substitute. Substitution was actually a lot more fun than i had expected and i felt completely relaxed by the end of this baking session. I call these granola clusters because i didnt allow the granola to cool completely and therefore they couldn’t be cut up into pretty bars. As for the substitutions, they worked just fine. The clusters are salty, tangy, subtly sweet and tastes great with greek yogurt. These would make an excellent hostess edible gift or even a healthy breakfast for Mother’s day.. hint, hint..hope someone is reading this:)
1 cup raisins (original recipe has chopped, dried dates)
1.25 cups old fashioned oats ( original recipe has quick rolled oats)
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour (original recipe has barley flour)
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup silvered almonds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup peanut butter (original recipe has almond butter)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest (original recipe has orange zest)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (original recipe has almond extract)
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8X8 inch pan with parchment paper.
2. Stir together the raisins, oats, flour, wheat germ, almonds, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, olive oil, honey, lemon zest and vanilla extract until smooth.
4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry mixture and stir them together until the dry ingredients are evenly coated.
5. Spread the batter in the prepared pan, pressing the mixture firmly into the bottom, edges and corners to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan.
6. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until they are brown around the edges. They will seem soft and underbaked when you press into the center of the pan, but will set once completely cool.
7. Cool the bars in the fridge for about 45minutes and use a serrated knife to cut them into squares. I cooled them on a wire rack for 20minutes and tried to cut them into bars and ended up with clusters instead of bars.