It’s always nice when things turn out better than you expect them to.
For example, the other day I took a chance on a recipe with suspiciously high ratios of butter and flour that called itself “granola” — a recipe without a photo, even! — and what popped out of my oven later was totally better than anything I could have expected.
Crazy, right? How often does that happen?
I feel the need to say, though, that this is definitely not “granola” — it’s more like granola’s chubby cousin.
These treats are full of the same nutritious stuff, like oats, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and sticky-delicious-oozy honey, but have a bit of fat and flour packed in, too.
The key to getting the best flavour out these bars is in the effort you put into toasting your oats and wheat germ.
Crank that heat up and toast everything a wee bit longer than your good judgment tells you to — seriously!
I had a few suspiciously dark and crispy oats in my skillet by the time I was done, and it was just perfect — more crunch, more yum!
These bars walk a taste bud tightrope: they’re sweet and salty, they’re chewy and crunchy, they’re moist and crumbly.
If you’re feeling creative, then swap out the dried apples and pecans for any other type of dried fruit and nut combination that you think would work well… but I recommend keeping the coconut and seeds in the recipe, though, since they’re a really big part of the texture of this treat!
Honey Oat n’ Seed Bars
*adapted from Bar Cookies A to Z
- 2 cups rolled “old fashioned” oats
- 1/4 cup wheat germ
- 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup dried apple, diced
- 1/2 cup sweet flaked coconut
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- 1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1/3 cup cane sugar (or brown sugar)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup honey, plus more for glazing bars
Separately toast the old-fashioned oats and wheat germ in a dry skillet over medium heat. Toast them until they’re golden brown, then toast them another minute or two. Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (or 175°C). Line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, ground ginger, and salt. Stir in cooled oats and wheat germ.
In a separate bowl, toss the dried apple, coconut, pecans, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds together. Add them to the flour mixture and stir to distribute evenly.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and honey.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients slowly, folding gently until the dry ingredients are incorporated and no streaks of flour remain.
Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top of the batter. Bake for 30 ~ 35 minutes.
After removing the pan from the oven, warm approximately 1/4 cup of honey in a skillet until the honey is very runny. Brush the honey over the top of the uncut oat and seed cake.
Allow the cake to cool completely before removing it from the pan and cutting it into bars with a very sharp knife.
These bars will keep really well, at least three days or more, if you wrap them tightly in plastic and store them in a cool place.
Not that they’ll last that long — there’s something very addictive about these honey oat n’ seed morsels. The one batch I made disappeared way too fast, so I’ll be making them again soon. Yum!