Remember when I said this isn’t a cooking blog? And you said, well, dummy, I know that—obviously it’s a baking blog, right?
No, please. I don’t write a baking blog. I write about life, and sometimes I bake stuff because I really like eating what I bake, and sometimes those experiments turn into blog posts. Read my other posts and you’ll see a nice variety, especially long, long ago and far, far away, when we lived in the land of ice and snow called Spokane.
Now we live in Arizona, and I don’t have deer or ground squirrels to watch or apples to pick or a lawn to mow (well, I do have a lawn to mow, but instead of an acre it is about seven feet square) or even weeds to pull. Instead, I have, uh, I have… let me think. Oh yes, I have a husband, but he is quite self-sufficient and requires feeding only once per day. We have a dog, but someone else grooms him. There’s a pool out back, but we have it cleaned by a guy named Mike who had a heart attack last week (the pool isn’t looking real good right now). There are some plants (the HOA requires a minimum of eleven out front, can you believe that?) and a couple of trees that shed leaves (or what passes for leaves in the desert), but we have a lawn guy who comes every other week and takes care of them.
So what do I do here, exactly? I edit other people’s books, mostly, but I’m starting to write again. Yahoo! Fiction, for fun, and my blog, also for fun—my blog that I hadn’t touched for almost two years. Not because I was too busy, but because I’ve been lazy and neglectful of the writing I truly enjoy, which is what I’m doing right now. My motto at the moment is “Write Now!”
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, can I share an awesome recipe with you? Haha, fooled ya! I had you believing this wasn’t a baking blog. So do you like chewy chocolate chip granola bars? Well, do ya?
Here’s the deal: all you have to do to make the best ever approximation of those Sunbelt chewy granola bars is get yourself some nuts, oats, brown sugar, honey, vanilla, salt, and coconut butter. That last ingredient is the hardest to come by; you’ll have to special order it or find it at Whole Foods or somewhere that has fancy foods. Vitacost is a good place to find it online.
Anyway, I make a batch of these, thinking they will last a week, and then I eat them all. In two days. Because they are that good, and they are far better for me than the average candy bar, which I shouldn’t be eating anyway. Did I mention they are gluten free? G-L-U-T-E-N F-R-E-E. I don’t have celiac disease, but gluten free is the catch phrase of the decade, so somebody, somewhere, will love these bars for that reason alone.
You can easily make half a recipe, which will fit in about half of a quarter-sized cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. (Okay, not a cookie sheet the size of a quarter; a cookie sheet that is one-quarter the size of a full-sized sheet. Sheesh!) Ergo a full recipe will take up a quarter-sized cookie sheet. Sides are better.
Jenny’s Yummy Scrumptious Chewy Oaty Nut Bars
- ½ cup coconut butter (totally different from coconut oil – do NOT substitute)
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup brown sugar, dark or light
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 cups Coach’s Oats and 2 cups Quaker, or four cups of whatever oats you have on hand, or mix in some Rice Krispies
- ¼ cup flaked coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
- ½ cup pecans or nuts of your choice, chopped
- ½ cup mini chocolate morsels, if desired
Preheat oven to 300°.
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine coconut butter, honey, and brown sugar. Cook until mixture bubbles and reduce heat. Cook for 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla and salt.
In a separate bowl combine oats, nuts, and flaked coconut. Add honey mixture to dry mixture and use Pam-sprayed hands or spoon or spatula to mix well. Allow to cool slightly before adding mini morsels unless you like your chocolate melted.
Pat into a greased baking pan (one with low sides works best) and top with more coconut flakes if desired. Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool at room temperature for 2 hours. Cut into bars with a pizza cutter. Store in the fridge if you aren’t going to eat them within a couple of days. Enjoy!