Prep Time 10′
Total Time 130′
What do dental floss dispensers, squeezy ketchup bottles, microwave-safe cookware and disposable nappies have in common with the humble granola bar?
They were all invented by the same guy!
Stanley Mason was an inventor from New Jersey who has probably had more influence on your life than you realise. For 70 years, he invented some of the most common and convenient household objects. We take many of them for granted today.(1)
And indeed he also claims responsibility for the granola bar (however, the title is disputed by another inventor named Herrick Kimball, who claims he got there first).(2)
Not all of Mason’s inventions were quite as successful as the granola bar, however. Single serving marinated sardines and tallow diesel were, unfortunately, not destined for the big-time.(3) More’s the pity.
Back to the granola bar. There are a two basic elements to Mason’s original invention which are the backbone to any good granola bar. These are: granola and syrup.
And while the original may have been a rather plain version made purely with oats, there is now so much more we can do with granola.
In fact, the granola bar has diverged into two distinct camps: the utterly delicious (but extremely naughty) flapjack type, and the more virtuous oat bar type.
Flapjacks are an English invention which adds generous amounts of butter to the basic oat and syrup mix. The result is a deliciously squidgy oat bar which goes very nicely with a cup of tea. Sadly, it’s probably not the best choice for everyday snacking as it’s typically high in fat and sugar.
However, the granola bar is perfectly capable of being a very healthy snack with a few minor tweaks.
For example, we love to pack our bars to the brim with protein and fibre-filled nuts and sweet dried fruits.
We also don’t have to rely so heavily on sugary syrup as we can use healthier options, such as peanut butter or honey, as binding agents.
Fortunately, as we’re already steering away from the buttery flapjack route, there’s no reason to add dairy to our bars. Indeed, the original recipe has no requirement for eggs. The syrup mixture does all the hard work binding the ingredients together.
So the real question becomes: what goodies are we going to add in? Cue a gleeful rummage through the pantry for all kinds of healthy nuts and berries to stir into our mixture.
Almonds, peanuts and hazelnuts are all sources of protein and fibre, as well as a host of useful minerals. Almonds are high in vitamin E, which looks after your skin, hair and nails as well.
Pumpkin seeds have an astonishing array of health properties. Studies suggest that they may have anti-microbial, antioxidant and even anti-depressive qualities.(4)
Meanwhile, goji berries may have anti-ageing, antioxidant and immunity-supporting properties.(5)
Sprinkling a few of these berries, nuts and seeds into our granola bar mixture combines both flavour and function!
While you will almost certainly have heard of goji berries before, you may not be quite as familiar with sea buckthorn.
Just like goji, sea buckthorn berries have been gaining popularity in recent years thanks to their stores of rare and healthy nutrients.
For example, our Erbology Organic Sea Buckthorn Berries are high in omega-7 and beta-carotene. Omega-7 is very hard to find in the plant world, but sea buckthorn is abundant in it. Meanwhile, beta-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A. Together, these nutrients help care for our eyes, skin and mucous membranes.
The berries are also a source of vitamins C and E. They have a sharp flavour, rather like gooseberry but with a hint of tropical pineapple.
Not only are they a great addition to our vegan granola bar recipe, you can sprinkle them over salads or breakfast bowls for a boost of nutrients, too.
While our vegan granola bar is very easy to make and doesn't even require baking, we have a few extra tips to help you on your way.
Firstly, if your peanut butter is quite thick and unwilling to mix with the other wet ingredients, a few seconds in the microwave will loosen it up nicely. You can do the same with your coconut oil, if you like.
Secondly, once your mixture is in the tin, press it down firmly. We mean firmly! If there are pockets of air left in your bars they can become crumbly and fall apart easily. So, make sure you press down your granola bars as much as possible.
A great tip for this is to wet your spatula (or fingertips) as this will stop the mixture sticking while you press it down.
If you’re taking a few out for a long walk, simply wrap them in a bit of greaseproof paper to stop them sticking together. They’ll make a lovely and well-earned snack at the top of the first hill!
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