Runner’s Strength Granola Bars
Even the very best of store-bought granola bars will leave you disappointed. Many continue to be made with high fructose corn syrup–an ingredient the world would do well without, and others load them so full of sweeteners that you can’t even taste the nutrients hidden somewhere in there. Be the solution, and make them at home. A 9×12 pan will make two dozen bars, which should keep you running for quite some time.
Your Favorite Oats
Your Favorite Nuts (here I’ve used almonds and cashews)
Agave (or honey, if you prefer)
And chocolate, if you must (not used here)
As is typical with my site, I don’t use measuring units (much to my reader’s chagrin, I imagine, but I want you all to have the freedom to experiment and customize). There are two important ratios to keep in mind with this recipe. First, your solids (oats and nuts)-to-liquid (peanut butter and agave/honey) ratio should be approximately 2:1. This ratio will keep the bars sticking together, but not to your fingers. The second ratio to keep in mind is between the peanut butter and the agave/honey. A 1:1 ratio here works well, although the magic glue of the recipe is the peanut butter, so if you are struggling with holding the bars together, go ahead and lean slightly in favor of peanut butter.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place your agave/honey and peanut butter into a microwave-safe container and nuke for 3-5 minutes, depending on the size of your batch, until it is fluid enough to mix together evenly. In a separate mixing bowl, combine your dry ingredients–oats, nuts, flax, and cranberries. Pour PB/agave blend into dry ingredients and mix until the entire batch is evenly coated. Spread into a baking dish (I used a 9×12), and don’t forget ample use of wax paper here will save you much scrubbing later!
Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until edges just start to darken. Any longer and you will be left with crunchy granola bars (unless that’s what you’re looking for). Let cool in baking dish for ten minutes then transfer onto a cutting board to cool completely. Top with sea-salt (or chocolate) while still warm and sticky. Cut into preferred-size bars. Freeze or refrigerate to keep them fresher longer. Keep a couple in your backpack with you at all times, in case of food emergency!