Chewy Granola Bars with Dried Cranberries, Yogurt Chips & Blueberry Flaxseed
The pumpkin patches are open, the leaves are changing colors, and we’re working on Halloween crafts to decorate our home. The only issue is that in Southern Cali the weather’s been in the mid to upper 80’s. Not surprising for us, but it’s certainly wrecking havoc on our Fall allergies.
Bebe probably has the worst of the allergies but we’ve enjoyed the pumpkin patch on better days, as well as the park and a few outdoor activities, but on bad days we resort to staying indoors and finding quieter things to do. Anything from playing Doc McStuffins where Bebe dresses up in the Doc outfit she got for her birthday and I call in for an appointment for a number of ailments (tension in my neck, sore foot, headache, leg pain – all based in some truth) and then I go in and she treats me. She also treats a number of her stuffed animal friends who I bring in for various injuries and ailments. She really enjoys dramatic play and I enjoy watching her creativity playing make-believe.
Lately, another one of her favorite make-believe activities is playing school. Bebe is always the teacher and I am always her student. I’d like to say that over half of her enjoyment comes from setting up our play area with various activity stations: kitchen/cooking, arts and crafts, storytime books, post office dramatic play area, puzzles, and lining up a series of quiet “busy bags” for us to choose from. Usually, even though I am the student, and I get to pick what I would like to learn or play, she does the actual activity to “show me” and “teach me”. It’s definitely entertaining and cute to interact with her in this way.
Aside from play, games and crafts, Bebe and I also like to cook. It’s a good opportunity for her to learn counting skills and exercise her fine motor skills, but more importantly, it’s fun to be able to take part in making something that you get to enjoy eating afterwards.
These chewy granola bars are one such cooking adventure.
She likes to help me measure and stir the ingredients and even press the granola into the pan. She’s the best chef I could ever ask for.
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoon honey
- ⅓ cup brown sugar, packed
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups quick cooking oats
- 1 cup rice crispy cereal
- 1 tablespoon wheat germ
- 1 tablespoon ground blueberry flax seed
- 1 tablespoon dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoon yogurt chips
- Using a square 8 x 8 tin pan, line with parchment paper, and then lightly butter the sides not covered with the paper. Set aside. TIP: The parchment paper will make it very easy to remove the bars from the pan!
- In a large bowl, combine quick oats and rice krispies with wheat germ and blueberry flax seed.
- In a small sauce pan, combine butter, honey and brown sugar. Bring to a boil on medium high heat.
- When the mixture bubbles (boiling), turn the heat to medium low and simmer for 2 minutes. TIP: Make sure you bring to a boil first then simmer. If the mixture doesn't cook long enough your bars won't hold together.
- After 2 minutes, add the vanilla extract and quickly stir until the alcohol evaporates (30 seconds).
- Pour the hot mixture over the oats and krispies and quickly toss with a spatula until all of the dry ingredients are coated and thoroughly mixed.
- Quickly pour into the prepared tin pan, and evenly spread out the mixture with the spatula and press down. PRESS down really hard.
- Fold the parchment paper over the chewy granola mixture and press down using your hands. Again, press down really hard! (You might need an extra piece of parchment paper to completely cover the mixture. TIP: Use a can or jar to press down the chewy granola mixture even more. If the mixture isn't compacted well enough into the pan, it won't hold.
- Let the chewy granola mixture cool for about 15 - 20 minutes, until it's not hot anymore so it won't melt the yogurt chips.
- Sprinkle the yogurt chips and cranberries. Cover with parchment paper and then use a can or jar to press the yogurt chips and cranberries into the chewy granola mixture. TIP: Don't use your hands because they will melt the yogurt chips!
- Allow the chewy granola bars to cool for a 2 to 3 hours. TIP: Just before I'm ready to cut the bars, I put it in the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the parchment paper. Using a serrated knife, slice the bars into 1 to 11/2 inch wide strips. For larger big-kid bars, cut the bars in half. For smaller bites, cut the strips into small 1-inch squares.
- Store the chewy granola bars in an airtight container on the counter for up to 2 days, then store them in the refrigerator for up to a week.