Whether you're ready or not, here we are in the last week of August and if you have wee ones at home, it's back to school time. Even if you don't, you can sense it happening with fall clothes gracing department store racks and juice box and snack displays at local grocery stores. While those little pre-packaged snacks are appealing in their simplicity, making your own can be just as easy. Growing up, granola bars were the snack of choice. My mom never made them, but she bought different varieties and my sisters and I ate them (or occasionally traded them for a sweet we weren't allowed to have) with each passing school day. Recently I've started to make granola bars at home, working to develop a version I could sell with my granola company, Marge and I've stumbled upon many wonderful no-bake energy bars that are made largely with dates as a binding agent, and boast fresh ingredients like cranberries, apricots or peanut butter. I'm sold.
While they're technically no-bake, a few of the recipes will have you turning on your oven just to toast the nuts, but otherwise most of them are one-bowl affairs that require processing the ingredients in a food processor, pressing the mixture into a pan and chilling until firm. It's that easy. And most definitely less expensive than buying similar snacks at the store.
Megan is a freelance writer and recipe developer. Her cookbook, Whole-Grain Mornings, will be available in bookstores nationwide Dec/2013. Megan also owns the Seattle-based artisan cereal company, Marge Granola.
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