I have a fetish for supermarkets. When I visit a different country, one of my most favorite activities is to visit their local supermarket. For me it’s one of the most practical anthropological studies one can conduct. I just got back from a recent to Los Angeles, and besides family and friends, shopping and food, supermarket shopping is one of my favorite pastimes in the city.
My recent anthropological studies show that supermarkets in LA (mainly Trader Joes, Whole Foods) have perfected a technique to sell food which appears to be almost homemade, and packaged in a way that looks extremely healthy. This outer appearance of their products makes A. the shopping experience so much more delightful and B. gives you the feeling (erroneous or not) that what you are eating is actually healthier for you.
Back to Israel. I really do love my life here (sans the major missing the fam), and what I’ve come to appreciate is that my quality of life here is on par if not exceeding the quality of life in LA (which on paper is quite superior). The one major thing that gets me about life here though is the supermarkets. The supermarkets here are your basic-get-your-stuff-and-go type of shopping experience. I want my supermarket to be like a good pedicure- I don’t mind if the task lasts longer than expected. I’m missing those cleverly packaged items, made to look homemade and healthy.
Good thing I’ve got Danya around to make up for the lack of fabulous packaged snacks. She came up with this amazing recipe for homemade granola bars and even gave me the idea of wrapping them individually-she has a theory that her kids love a wrapped snack. I guess that’s her anthropological study.
The beauty of making your own homemade snacks is that you know exactly what goes into them, and with these granola bars, not only can you pronounce every ingredient, but most likely you have all the ingredients in your pantry. Tahini, a staple in Israeli cooking can be found at most health food stores and Middle Eastern supermarkets. The best part of this recipe is that it really is ridiculously simple to make- mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, and the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and then mix them. It’s as easy as making the simplest cookie. The trick here is to really let the granola bars completely cool in the baking dish before cutting them.
Ingredients for about 20 bars:
1⅔ cup rolled oats
½ cup dark brown sugar
⅓ cup whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
¾ cup mini chocolate chips
⅓ cup tahini paste
¼ cup honey
2½ oz./ 6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon water
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 11-inch by 7-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl mix together all the dry ingredients-oats, sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, walnuts and chocolate chips.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining wet ingredients- tahini paste, honey, butter and water.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixtures are combined. Pour mixture into the prepared baking pan, and use your fingers to gently press the mixture evenly into the pan.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the sides turn golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely to room temperature before serving.
- Once cooled, remove the granola bars from the pan and cut into 1-inch by 3-inch rectangles.