No wine drinker worth her salt discounts the importance of a good breakfast after a night in the sauce. That ever-important meal takes on new dimensions - it can turn a lousy morning into something approximating normal. (And, for those of us with restraint, a satisfying breakfast is just a nice way to start the day.)
Because breakfast is usually a quick affair - it's rare that our a.m. table is graced with anything more fancy than toast or granola and yogurt - I tend to get a little frustrated with what are a seeming lack of creative, on-the-go options.
Enter smitten kitchen: my go-to source for recipes that taste even better than they look. I recently made her granola bars and loved the sophisticated, but homemade results. Visit the original recipe over here and consider that these bars respond to any number of tweaks. I swapped half the honey for maple syrup, replaced the almonds with walnuts, dumped in some flax seeds, and selected cranberries as my dried fruit of choice. They were a huge hit - slightly sweet with a warm and toasty crunch. Just be sure to have a stash on hand for those mornings when you might need some extra fuel.
Granola BarsAdapted from smitten kitchen
- 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
- 1 cup walnut pieces
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
- 1/4 cup flax seeds
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup dried cranberries
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter an 9×13-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.
Toss the oatmeal, walnuts, coconut, and flax seeds together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.
While the mixture is still warm, stir in the honey, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt until the mixture is well coated. Then add the dried fruit. Pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish and press firmly with a spatula or other flat utensil until the mixture is packed as tightly as possible.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares.