My heart truly goes out to all those who have been made to suffer because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I wish a speedy recovery to those who are sick, comfort and hope for those who have lost loved ones, and wisdom and selflessness for leaders and all who are navigating this crisis.
I am thankful that besides the inconveniences of closings and shelter-in-place orders, my household has not been adversely affected. But with long periods of staying mostly indoors with four active children, my wife and I have had to think of creative ways to keep them engaged and active. Cooking together is one activity we have been trying to do together as a family.
Simple. Healthy. Tasty. These are the criteria we use when choosing what to cook with our kids. These granola bars meet those requirements hands down. The use of KVAN Foods Honey Apple Butter simplifies by replacing butter and honey; provides a healthy, all-natural sweetener; and adds a unique and delicious taste that surely sets these granola bars apart from most others.
To begin, we'll need to gather our ingredients. We'll put these into two groups: one for the granola base and another for whatever you want to mix-in with your bars.
The granola base consists of old fashioned oats, slivered almonds (or any chopped nuts you prefer), honey apple butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and salt.
For this recipe, we mixed in dried cranberries, dried apricots, and dark chocolate chips (70% cacao).
Start by toasting the oats and nuts. We did this by lining a cookie sheet with parchment paper, spreading the oats and nuts onto it, and then baking them in the oven preheated at 350 °F for about 8 minutes, stirring them periodically.
As simple as this recipe is, it does require multiple steps. It can be a challenge to keep kiddos engaged at times when cooking. One thing that may help is to give each one specific tasks along the way and let them know when their job is required and how it fits into the final product.
While the oats and nuts were toasting, we heated a small stainless steel saucepan on the burner, added the honey apple butter and brown sugar, and cooked them on medium heat until the sugar dissolved.
Then, we removed the saucepan from heat and stirred in the vanilla extract and salt.
The nuts and oats came out perfectly toasted. Toasting gives these bars a deeper, nuttier flavor and adds crunch to this chewy snack.
Next we poured the nuts and oats into a mixing bowl, added the wet ingredients, and began to mix them all with a spatula. Then we mixed in the dried apricots and cranberries. We waited for the mixture to cool a bit, however, before adding the chocolate chips so that they would not melt too much and lose shape.
In order for the granola to be formed into bars, it must be packed into a pan and allowed to cool in the refrigerator. We lined a 9-inch square glass baking dish with the parchment paper we had used earlier and lightly sprayed it with cooking spray.
Before refrigerating it, we packed it down into the pan using a measuring cup.
After refrigerating for 2 hours, it was ready to be cut into bars and consumed with happiness. They hold their shape well and with the KYVAN Foods Honey Apple Butter taste better than any granola bar you can buy from a store.
Another great thing about this recipe is its versatility. You can substitute other ingredients for the apricots, cranberries, and chocolate chips to make a large variety of granola flavors.
- 2 ½ cups old fashioned oats
- ½ cup slivered almonds (or other chopped nuts)
- ½ cup KYVAN Honey Apple Butter
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp coarse salt
- ¾ cups other ingredients (I used ¼ cup each of sliced dried apricots, dried cranberries, and 70% cacao dark chocolate chips)
Place the oats and nuts in a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and toast in the oven for about 8 minutes at 350 °F.
In a small saucepan, combine the honey apple butter and brown sugar and cook on medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove the saucepan from heat and mix in the vanilla extract and salt.
Add the nuts, oats, and wet ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix with a spatula. Add the other ingredients to the mix, but wait until the mixture cools for about 10 minutes if adding chocolate chips.
Line a 9-inch square ceramic baking dish with parchment paper and lightly spray with cooking spray. Spread the mixture into the baking dish and pack down with a measuring cup or wooden spoon.
Refrigerate for 2 hours before cutting into bars and serving.