2 1/4 cups soaked and dehydrated rolled oats
1 cup soaked and dehydrated sunflower seeds
1 1/4 cups soaked and dehydrated peanuts, crushed
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup raw honey
2 Tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp celtic sea salt
6-8 ounces of dried fruit
1/4 cup ground flaxseed, optional
1. Toast the oats, sunflower seeds, and peanuts in a 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes or until slightly browned. Make sure you check them every few minutes and stir them around or they will burn.
2. Melt brown sugar, honey, butter, vanilla, and salt over medium heat. It should go from looking like this;
The length of time you let it simmer will depend on how crunchy you'd like you're bars. Personally I like them stiff but somewhat pliable, like the candy hardball stage, so I let it simmer until it hits about 250 degrees.
3. Mix all toasted ingredients and the hot mixture together in a medium to large bowl. Add in dried fruit and flax seed if desired. Stir well to make sure it is well coated.
4. Press into a well greased, glass 9x13 pan. If you don't have a glass pan, place waxed paper inside the pan and grease that. Place a piece of greased waxed paper over the mixture and press mixture into the pan. (the mixture will be hot so keep your oven mitts on!)
5. Cut after the bars are cooled, but still slightly warm. You could cut them right in the glass pan, but I flip it over onto a cutting board and cut with a large knife. If you had to use waxed paper in the pan, just pull the whole thing out and cut.
Why I've modified it
- Traditionally, nuts and seeds have been soaked as a way to digest them properly. I soak them all beforehand so all I have to do is toast them the day I make these bars.
- The original recipe calls for wheat germ, and while it may have some health benefits, I'm not able to soak these so I added in extra of the other ingredients to make up for it. Plus I'm not quite sold on the idea that the germ is healthy by itself, without the bran, etc.
- I have flip flopped the amounts of the sugar and honey around, and although it does taste better with 2/3 cup sugar and 1/2 cup honey, I try and keep refined sugar out of my diet as much as possible.
- I also lowered the amount of butter, not because of fat and calories, but because I found it just didn't need that much, and good butter is expensive!
These particular bars did not have soaked oats in them as my hubby doesn't care for the texture of dehydrated oats in the bars. And since I make these for him to take to lunch, we go around his taste. (by the way you'll need about 3 cups oats before soaking to get about 2 1/4 oats after dehydrating)
Also, the italian sausage casserole turned out great!