Carrot Cake Granola Bars

As summer comes to an end, and with a new school year about to begin, I am packing my things in Calgary to head back to Ottawa to start my Masters in Counselling Psychology. It has been one of the best summers ever, and in fact, one of the best years ever; I went to pastry school, worked in two bakeries (pies for four months, and bagels for four months), traveled around Argentina, and got to explore the beautiful west side of Canada. Taking a year off was such a great decision, and even though I am definitely not done with traveling, baking, or Western Canada, I am about to put these things on hold for two years. One adventure ends and another begins! 

Tom and I took 12 days to road trip from Calgary to Vancouver and back, stopping in Kelowna, Penticton, Vancouver, Squamish, and the Radium Hot Springs. We camped, wine toured, biked, swam, climbed, hiked, and visited with some very special friends: Keegan, Barah, Amanda, Barbara, Chuck, and Corinne. Definitely a wonderful way to end the summer. 

Before leaving for our trip, I made Vegan Carrot Cake Granola Bars to munch on on the road. 

2 cups quick or minute oats
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp ground flax seeds, mixed with 4 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup vegan margarine, or melted coconut oil
Optional: raisins, walnuts, hemp seeds

I mixed everything together in a bowl (starting with the dry ingredients and carrots, then adding the wet ingredients), and pressed the mixture firmly into an 8 x 8 square pan, greased and lined with parchment paper. I baked the granola bars at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. I let the pan cool for about an hour, then cut them into 8 granola bars and wrapped them individually. 

They made a delicious snack for the road, and taste just like carrot cake! It is best to keep them refrigerated, but not necessary. It was sad when a couple of them got wet on our trip because our ice bags in the cooler leaked onto them. Tom pointed out that I like to mourn my food whenever it goes bad, and can’t throw it away right away. Eventually I accept that the food cannot be saved and throw it out. 

I really like making my own granola bars, as it is way cheaper than buying them from the store ($5 for 6 bars?!?!), and I have a lot more options for flavours (again with the peanut allergy limiting my options). I will definitely make this recipe again. 

Adios Calgary!