Cocoa Orange Granola Bars

Portable snacks are very important in my life. I often find myself in situations where I get hungry very suddenly, but I am far away from home to fix something filling, tasty and healthy. Quite some time ago I have stopped buying foods to go. The stuff on offer just doesn't look appealing to me anymore. The only way out is some snack to take from home, something that can stay in my car and doesn't go rotten in a day or two.
I find granola bars do the trick perfectly. The whole grains and nuts are filling, the sugar of the dried fruit makes me happy and get the blood sugar levels up, and the cocoa and orange peel gives some exquisite flavor.  As it happened today, these little squares got me through yet another automobile showroom incl. test drive, as my much beloved Jeep Cherokee passed away last week. 


(Print Recipe)

1 1/2 cups regular rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
3/4 cup dried fruit (e.g. apricots, raisins, dates)

1 1/4 cup orange juice 
2 tablespoons honey

Makes ca. 12 squares
Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients apart from orange juice and honey until well combined.
In another bowl, combine orange juice and honey. Stir into the dry ingredients until well mixed and let stand for 10-15 minutes.
Spread the batter evenly onto the baking sheet, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch high. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Alternatively, use a large cookie cutter and press spoonfuls of the batter into it. Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

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