This Mother’s Day my kids AND my own mother are all two thousand miles away. For the first time in 20 years I won’t have some kind of maternal relationship in the house, unless you count Oliver, my dog and almost-son. However, since he is equipped with paws, he is (sadly) unable to bring me breakfast in bed (my favorite Mother’s Day privilege), although I know he’d like to.
My daughters will be home from college in a few weeks. They’re studying for finals, and in a frenzy of maternal energy (inspired by their upcoming absence on Sunday), I sent them care packages.
I thought way too much about what food I could send them that would fuel their brains in a good way (nixing Twinkies and Skittles), rocketing them to academic stardom, and that would not spoil in transit (nixing hummus and yogurt), and that would require no assembling or disassembling (nixing protein powder, oranges). After much obsession I settled on home made granola bars.
I made ‘em, sent ‘em, and kept some for me and Tom. See, my efforts were not entirely unselfish. My husband has reminded me emphatically that I am NOT his mother, thereby crushing any Mother’s Day expectations. But I’m thinking if breakfast is in bar form, even my kitchen-challenged husband might be able to prepare and deliver it to me in bed, acting on behalf of Oliver. Now I just have to teach him how to make coffee.
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
½ cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup walnuts
½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
½ cup honey
3 tablespoons butter, plus extra for the pan
1 teaspoons vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup sweetened, dried cherries
¼ cup ground flax seed
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup white chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 350º. Butter a 9×13-inch pan, line it with parchment, and butter the parchment.
2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, coconut and sunflower seeds. Crush the walnuts (I do this with the bottom of my meansuring cup) to break them up. Add the walnuts to the oat mixture. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 12 minutes, until the oats are slightly golden and fragrant. Return the oat mixture to the bowl and reduce the oven heat to 300º F.
3. Meanwhile, place the sugar, honey, butter, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved, 2-3 minutes. Add the cherries, flax seed and cinnamon to the oat mixture in the bowl and mix well. Pour the honey mixture over the oats and mix well. When the oat mixture has cooled slightly, mix in the white chocolate chips.
4. Pour the oat mixture into the prepared pan and press it down gently, to make it compact. Bake it for 25 minutes, until it is golden. Allow the pan to cool completely, about 2 hours, then cut bars (or squares, your choice of size) and serve, or place them in an airtight container and eat them for days.
Yield: 12-16 granola bars, depending how you cut them.