Nut Bars & Musings of an #SSS

salted nut bars

It’s funny how we use food for both celebrating and for coping.

This has become increasingly evident to me due to one word: college.

In the last two weeks, many early deadline college decisions have been released, either through online portals or in emails. I can’t say I’m a fan of all this digital messaging because it makes the whole process quite impersonal, but such is life.

While these early decisions don’t directly affect me, it has been a little bit of an emotional roller coaster watching some of my friends hear from their top choice schools. When they’ve received good news, food has been used for celebration. And when my friends have unfortunately been rejected or deferred from their top schools, food has been used to as a coping mechanism. (Disclaimer: I don’t recommend this, but sometimes people need to do what they need to do to deal with disappointment.)

All this college hullabaloo makes me feel kind of wishful because I won’t know where I’m going to spend the next few years of my education until late March or April. Four months seems like an eternity. I just keep reminding myself that I and all my friends will eventually find a place where we’ll be happy and able to grow as people. Maybe we’ll find out now, maybe it’ll be in the spring.

nuts!

I tried to channel this nervous energy towards studying for finals, and I’m incredibly thrilled to say that I am now officially a Second Semester Senior. Or #SSS, as we like to call it. It is such a relief to think “one semester is down, just one to go.” At the same time, I’m just trying to savor the moments with my family and friends because life may look totally different 12 months from now.

chopping nuts

So, for now, I’m going to use food to celebrate and give a recap of a recipe I tried a few weeks ago: Food52’s Salted Dark Chocolate Nut Bars.

I made a few ingredient swaps and simply used what I had on hand — therefore, the recipe is no longer grain free.

  • 1/3 cup steel cut oats —I didn’t have buckwheat groats, so I lightly toasted some steel cut oats for five minutes as the oven preheated and chopped them smaller with a food chopper.
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats — I subbed old fashioned oats for the quinoa puffs because I couldn’t find them. I also chopped these.
  • I added about 2 tablespoons more honey to help the bars stick together.
  • I’m not vegan, so I melted plain ol’ Nestle Tollhouse semisweet chocolate chips.

withchocolateedited

I liked the combination of nuts and chocolate paired with cardamon. The bars were perfectly crunchy — not too hard, not too crumbly. Of course, these are natural, homemade bars, so they don’t have stabilizers to hold them together. However, I was surprised by how well these did stay in bar form (rather than breaking into chunks of granola). I recommend this recipe, but in the future, I’d experiment with a thicker binder such as brown rice syrup and not chop the nuts as finely.

I hope to post more in the new year — hopefully life as an SSS will provide a much-needed change of pace. A slower pace, that is.

Enjoy the holidays!

-Bethany

P.S. There are no pictures of the bars outside of the pan because they rapidly and mysteriously disappeared.

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