Since granola bars are difficult to find in the land of the rising sun, I decided to make them! I was really happy with how these turned out. I used the recipe on the Quaker Oatmeal website, but I added salted almonds because who doesn’t love sweet & salty together. You could also add chocolate chips, any chopped dried fruit, or coconut, or substitute maple syrup for the honey for a different flavor.
4 1/2 cups Old Fashioned Oats (or 4 cups Quick Cooking Oats)
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts (such as walnuts and/or salted almonds)
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup butter (170 g), melted
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 C)
- Combine all ingredients in a big bowl and mix well.
- Press firmly into a jellyroll pan (15-1/2 x 10-1/2 inch)
- Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly*
- Cool completely, and cut into bars. Makes about 24 “Nature Valley-size” granola bars.
*A note on baking time: Japanese ovens don’t like to make things crispy. My granola bars were chewy, but a regular oven may produce crunchy ones. Both are good results!
You’re probably wondering what these granola bars have to do with birds. Well, yesterday we ventured out into the rain to visit Kobe Kacho-en, a bird & flower garden in Kobe. We walked around in a giant green house, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over giant lily pads that were just begging to be walked on, flowers that looked like they belonged in the Amazon, and baskets hanging above our heads cascading with colorful blossoms. Then we transitioned to the bird rooms: a duck, swan, chicken, and crane room; a penguin room; a tucan room– slightly scary because the birds swoop down over your head and you can feel the air from their wings–and lastly an owl room, featuring species from around the world, both big and small. In each room you could purchase a small paper cup of bird seed to feed them. They also sold bags of shelled walnuts and almonds in the gift shop (an anomaly in Japanese grocery stores), meant for your pet bird, but we got excited about them too!
HUGE lily pads – aka stepping stones
“Purple ribbon flower”
Bouquets in the air