granola bars with honey & maple

granola bars with honey & maple

You know that feeling after spending a few hours working on something and then realise it is all wrong? Well that is how I felt yesterday after making my first little recipe video on my own. As soon as I started downloading the files it dawned on me that I shot the whole thing in portrait mode. An epic fail. I also should know better and I do know this. Perhaps it’s because I’m so hard-wired in terms of how I shoot my stills – which is 99% in portrait, I just set up all my equipment and got busy.

granola bars with honey & maple

The whole thing happened quite spontaneously and I had no plans to make a video. I needed to retest this granola recipe that appears in my book, so I thought, why not just shoot myself doing it in the process?

granola bars with honey & maple

granola bars with honey & maple

I love shooting in my kitchen which has a totally different light vibe going on, but is only really viable in the morning. It saves me having to move the food back and forth to my studio all the time, and I have so much more space. I also love shooting in my kitchen because its new for me and I’m feeling terribly stuck in my ways. Like a blogger hamster on a wheel doing the same old thing over and over. Its been six years and I am REALLY needing a change. 

granola bars with honey & maple

I decided to edit the video anyway and share it with you here. I truly belive that the only way to really learn anything is to do it, and then do it again, over and over until its right. My blog has always been my creative playground and a place to experiment. You only have to take a peek at my earlier photography to know how far I’ve come. 

granola bars with honey & maple

granola bars with honey & maple

I also decided to BAKE these granola bars after I made them, to check out a different perspective, and Oh My Goodness they were SO much more delicious. I feel like a failure a second time around because I didn’t figure this out earlier. I highly recommend popping the tray in the oven for 20 minutes to get a crunchier and more roasted nut taste. Sorry there is no pic of the baked ones. I only established this after the whole production / debacle of these, so you will just have to imagine crunchy golden bars. 

granola bars with honey & maple

I’ve used a mix of walnuts, cashews and almonds, but a hazelnut probably landed up in the mix too, maybe even a brazil. I find this the perfect recipe to use up any bits of dried fruit, seeds and nuts you have lying around or in the freezer (I always store all my nuts in the freezer to prevent them from going rancid). I had about half a cup of a trail mix which included a few dried goji berries and cranberries, so this really was a clear-the-cupboard-granola.

granola bars with honey & maple

*PS the image below was one that shot two years ago for my book, but landed up choosing the opening image in this blog post as the final one.  

granola bars with honey & maple

So here is my film, warts and all and I hope you enjoy it. I shot the end bit in Landscape because I left the granola bars to set overnight. 

Heres to learning, growing and finding new skills. None of us should ever feel stuck in our ways. 


Recipe – First published in Sweet – Penguin Random House 

I wrote:

These toasted oat granola bars are packed with healthy seeds, nuts and dried fruit. You can really add whatever you like or have on hand. I added a combination of almonds, walnuts, cranberries, goji berries, pumpkin and sunflower seeds to make up 2 cups.

I have used coconut oil as its healthier, and gives the granola a subtle coconut flavour, but you could use any neutral oil such as sunflower of canola oil.

These are the perfect lunch box fillers and snack to give you a quick energy boost.

Granola bars with honey and maple

Print Recipe
Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook Time:20 minutes


  • 3 ½ cups oats
  • 2 1/2 T coconut oil
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 2 cups of mixed nuts dried fruit and seeds


  • Heat the oven to 180C and spread the oats evenly across a large baking sheet. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until golden brown. Give them a sir every now and again and keep checking to ensure you don’t over cook them.
  • In s small pot, heat the oil, sugar, honey, maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon and bring this to the boil.
  • Empty the toasted oats, nuts, seeds and fruit into a large bowl and add the hot syrup and mix well to combine. Tip this in to baking pan (29cm x 21cm, or another appropriately sized pan), which you have lined with baking paper. Ensure that you have enough length in the paper to fold back over the bars. Press the mixture into the pan, fold over the baking paper and even out with a flat book and press down.
  • Allow this to cool and set overnight.
  • Remove from the sheet and cut into desired sized bars.


  • * To make these BAKED bars, simply pop the tray in an oven that has been pre-heated to 180C / 350F for 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove and allow to semi cool before cutting into bars, and then allow to cool completely before eating.

*to make this vegan, replace the honey with syrup (that’s if you are a vegan that doesn’t eat honey). Personally I can’t see how honey is non-vegan although bees are technically wild animals. Factory produced yes, but raw honey that has been naturally harvested from hives where bees are not intensively farmed is completely ethical in my opinion. But who am I to know or judge. 



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  1. These sound great Sam. I love experimenting with granola bars, and the best ones always are the ones from ‘the last of the nuts,seeds and dried fruits’ from the freezer 🙂 . I think this will be my mission this afternoon. 🙂

  2. Love it, watching the video was very relaxing! Agree should be in portrait but hey, next time!

  3. Thnaks Laura x

  4. Thanks Usha x

  5. Thanks Bernice – got a way to go, but at least a start x

  6. These bars look fantastic! Love the photos and video, too 🙂

  7. Thanks Anette, and so the new journey starts xx

  8. Thanks so much Sabrina, Im excited to start making a food films x

  9. These are delicious!! I made them last night and had to restrain myself to just 1 this morning! Your recipes are amazing Sam you have such a talent.

  10. I’m so glad you enjoyed these Melanie

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