People, I hate running. I mean, sure, I’ll do it. You know, for the health benefits and to get that “amazing” feeling after you complete a run, blah blah. I’ll even sign up for semi-long distance races just to make sure that I’ll keep on running. But I’m really not a fan of it. It’s true.
The only person I know that truly hates running more than I do is my sister. The only difference is that she doesn’t even lie to herself about it. She just flat out does not run because the thought of it frightens her. Ah, but what she does do is walk. You know, for exercise. And unfortunately, she doesn’t do it like this, though that would be so much more awesome. Instead, she just walks and walks being extremely inefficient with her exercise time.
All of this was just fine. Until she signed us both up for a 32 mile walk. 32 miles!? That’s insanity. That’s longer than a marathon. That’s longer than any run I’ve ever done…put together! Who walks 32 miles in one day?? Not only did she convince me (or force me, however you want to look at it – she’s the older one, after all) to do this walk, she also persuaded me into doing 20+ mile practice walks with her. Did I mention that this whole thing is insane?
Anyway. The walk is this weekend. And I’m taking these granola bars. Because goshdarnit, we’re going to need a snack during the 11 hour walking day. And these may be the only gems that pull me through. God speed. (I’m telling myself that.)
Jammin’ Granola Bars (slightly adapted from Flour)
Haha, I came up with the name of these granola bars myself. Anyway, I don’t think that I emphasized how tasty these bars actually are. Probably because of my anxiety related to the walk. Because I’m walking 32 miles this weekend – not sure if you knew that. Anyway, these are unlike any bars you’ve made because of this amazing jam right in the middle of the bars. Combined with the crunchy topping (millet! who knew about this wondrous grain!): It’s like a cross between a fancy Nutri-Grain bar and a Nature Valley granola bar. I mean, if that didn’t get you running to the kitchen to make these, I don’t know what will.
For the jam:
1 cup dried apple rings
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup dried apricots
1/3 cups sugar
2 cups water
In a medium pot, bring everything to a boil and let simmer for 5 minutes. Take the pot off the heat and let it sit for 1 hour. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and mix together until the jam is still chunky, but it is a more even consistency. This will take about 30 seconds.
For the bars:
1 cup walnuts, toasted
1 cup oats
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cups light brown sugar
2/3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 stick butter, softened and cut into pieces
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
6 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons millet
3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons whole flax seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. In a food processor, pulse together walnuts, oats, flour, sugar, coconut, salt, cinnamon and butter until it comes together. If doing by hand, rub in the butter into the dry ingredients. Pour everything out into a big bowl and mix in the applesauce and honey.
Taking two-thirds of the dough, pat it into the prepared pan. Bake for about 25 minutes, until it turns a light golden brown. Place the remaining 1/3 of the dough in the fridge while the rest is baking.
Take the pan out of the oven, and spread all of the prepared jam evenly on top. Take the rest of the dough out of the fridge and mix it in the millet, sunflower seeds and flax seeds. Dollop the dough evenly over the jam.
Place back in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top has turned a light golden brown. Let it cool in the pan for about 2 hours and then slice into bars. The recipe says that these bars taste even better as they sit, which is good because we’re not walking until this weekend. But these bars are pretty delicious right now too.