Granola (Crunchie) Bars

I am going back into the field tomorrow so I thought I would get organised and make some snacky-fied things that were easily transportable, wouldn’t get too bashed up in my bag, and could sustain me for long periods of time.

I also finally (finally!) got around to organising packed lunches to take with me from the kitchen – even though I plan to eat school dinners until the end of term. I figured it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take advantage of the food I’m entitled to as a tutor and I figure I can always eat sandwiches at breakfast or in the late afternoon – in that dead period between lunch and dinner when I’m running to catch a train. Not that I’ll be eating the sandwiches whilst running. Just to clarify.

And they always give crisps as part of the packed lunch so I can hoard those up for use at a later date (like when I make those cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar). Perhaps someone can explain to me the distinctly British obsession with sandwiches and crisps? I’ll admit to sometimes having sandwiches for lunch but crisps? They’re for having with sundowners and biltong. Preferably in a game park but also acceptable in front of a rugby game at 5pm. Not at lunch time and certainly not every day. It’s a culture thing I can’t quite get my head around.

But I digress. I first saw these bars on Smitten Kitchen and no, I’m not totally obsessed with that site, (okay, well maybe just a little) but she seems to always make things I want to make – like the scones or the buttermilk triple berry cake or oreos or these custards which are still on my list of things to do. Anyway, these bars seemed like the perfect breakfast on the run/in the train/eaten surreptitiously at the back of a classroom kind of food. They’re dense and chewy (for British readers, these are not flapjacks – they’re way more cooked than flapjacks and for South African readers, these are kind of like a crunchie – although I’m not sure of the rules regarding fruit and nuts in crunchies, my grandmother always made hers plain), filled with fruit and walnuts and syrup. They pack a punch of sugar, enough to get you out of bed and paying attention pretty quick. I think the oats stabilises the sugar though so you don’t collapse at 10am again. In short, good breakfast substitute. They’re also good in the afternoon, if you need to get over that dead time at 4pm.

I made mine with cranberries and sour cherries and walnuts (and used a full 3 cups worth because I wanted them packed with goodness) but you can use pretty much any combination of fruit and nuts you like. I also added maple syrup (because I have some in the cupboard and if I’m not careful it’ll still be there when I’m all handed in, gasp, and packing up, in 22 months time! Yes, I have started a count down.) but you could use golden syrup instead. I couldn’t be bothered to blend oats into flour (all that setting up of gadgetry was just too much to ask) so I made mine with wholemeal flour. This is the kind of recipe that can be adjusted to using up random ingredients in the cupboard. I’m not going to write out the version I used because it’s basically the same as the original, which you can find here. I did use the less amount of sugar though and they still came out super sweet.

 So wish me luck back in the field. I have a plan to make brownies this weekend but don’t be surprised if things go slightly awry and I disappear into a void, although I will try my best not to do so. Also, I got terribly over excited this afternoon at the arrival of Bouchon Bakery, the new book by Thomas Keller (and the bakery which turned my opinion on lemon meringue pie). A quick glance through, on undoing the book from it’s brown box and cellophane, is that it is AWESOME. I shall try to make something from it soon.