Homemade Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

 

Granola_WEB_ARTIn my life, there are a few constants: I am almost guaranteed to sleep well every other night. In the mornings, it’s a certainty that I will — often in rapid fire — ask my kids if they’ve brushed their teeth, filled their water bottles and remembered everything. And when the weather warms — like really warms — I am drawn to the outdoors.

Somewhere out there, someone is shaking their head at me. I know: outdoor living is for all year. The BDN’s Aislinn Sarnacki is out hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and more throughout the coldest months. But as much as I love skiing, sledding and ice skating, I don’t spend as much active time outdoors in the winter. I add layers, don hats and wear well-insulated gloves, but it just doesn’t hold the same enjoyment for me. Spring, summer and fall though? They’re my jam.

From days at the beach to easy hikes, swimming to anything involving a deck and a cool drink, there’s so much outdoor living to be had when it’s warm.

Of course, despite Friday’s sunshine and balmy temperatures, Mother Nature’s white wash that we woke up to Tuesday made it clear that we aren’t quite done with winter yet.

Still, even now as the temperatures are slowly creeping just above freezing, I’m already feeling drawn outside. The sky is taking on a more brilliant shade of blue on sunny days, and the sun is beckoning to provide much needed vitamin D.

And what do you need when you are out and about? Two things, really: Lots of water to stay hydrated and grab-and-go nibbles to keep your energy high. When my kids and I go for hikes, I love to pack fresh fruit like apples and something with a nice crunch, like granola bars.

And sometimes, I even make my own.

My easy recipe for granola bars begins with leftover granola. You can make your own, or use store bought. Mix it with a few simple ingredients, and press it into a pan to bake. Cut it hot from the oven, but then let them sit. As they cool, the bars will harden (don’t worry if they seem crumbly when you cut them!).

These are perfect for packing in little snack bags for all your outdoor adventuring … in warm weather, of course.

Homemade Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
yields about 20

2 egg whites
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon
4 cups oats, honey and almond granola
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9×13-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick aluminum foil.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the wire whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to soft peaks.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan set over low heat, whisk together the honey and cinnamon until combined. With the stand mixer running on low, drizzle the warm honey mixture into the egg white mixture. Continue mixing until well-combined. Fold in the granola and chocolate chips.

Pour the granola mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and press to a thin layer, stretching to the edges of the 9×13-inch pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden.

Remove from the oven and transfer the parchment or foil with the granola bars on it to a cutting board. Cut gently in to bar shapes (but don’t separate them). Then cool completely and cut again using the guides you cut after they came out of the oven.

Store bars in an airtight container for up to a week.

Sarah Walker Caron

About Sarah Walker Caron

Sarah Walker Caron is senior features editor for the Bangor Daily News, and resident cook. She writes a cooking column, Maine Course, and is also author of "Grains as Mains: Modern Recipes Using Ancient Grains." Her recipes have appeared in the BDN, Betty Crocker publications, Glamour.com and more.