Moving day is tomorrow. All week long I've been whittling away at our kitchen supplies, trying to get the cupboards bare. This morning, I woke up and brewed our last cup of coffee, ate a handful of broken tortilla chips, and boiled our very last egg for my breakfast.
Cleaning out the pantry, I found all sorts of random nuts, dark chocolate and dried fruit (I snack the way a squirrel snacks, apparently), and swept anything that looked like it might play well with other ingredients into a bowl.
A somewhat hideous blue plastic bowl, because all the pretty things have been packed.
In fact, if you're me, you'll go ahead and hastily assemble your tasty materials and then and only then will you realize that....you packed up the whole kitchen, pots, pans and all. Not even a baking sheet remains.
No worries. You'll just form that sucker into a rough half-inch-thick square by hand, you're kind of a badass like that. And then you'll score some lines into it with a knife, and slide it into the oven resting on nothing but a sheet of parchment paper (thankfully, there was still parchment paper!) and let it bake at until it's golden brown and crispy at the edges, chewy in the center, and smells like heaven.
Leaning against the kitchen counter earlier this afternoon, still-warm granola square in hand (fragrant with toasted pecans, sticky with dates, somewhat oozing little pockets of dark chocolate), I surveyed the chaos that was my apartment for almost the last time. Tomorrow we're waking up very early and loading all of this onto the back of a truck. And then we're off, heading for the first leg of a three-day journey.
We'll eat these handmade granola bars along the way, literally tasting the last of our lives in NYC, watching through the windows as the east speedily becomes the west.
Moving Day Granola Bars*
About 16 pecan halves
The last double handful of a canister of rolled oats, maybe two cups
A few heaping spoonfuls of almond butter that's so expensive at the good grocery store but you just can't keep yourself from buying it, and then a few spoonfuls more
A scoop of pepitas left over from my last homemade batch of granola
About a third of a bar of 85% dark chocolate, left behind on the shelf from making avocado chocolate mousse, remaining uneaten only because too it's dark to eat out of hand, roughly chopped into 'chip' size
About 8 Medjool dates, diced into little bitty pieces so that their sticky sugariness will help everything hold together
2 tablespoons of butter, melted, because....BUTTER
A generous squirt of maple syrup, because I love maple syrup
A sprinkling of demerara sugar, because I keep it to put in my coffee and, oh what the hell, right?
A generous pinch of salt, to balance all the sweet
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine every last ingredient in a large mixing bowl, mix until everything is evenly combined. Spread it out on a sheet of parchment paper (don't be like me, though. Put that parchment on an actual baking sheet, will you?), using the back of a spoon or your wet fingertips (run them under water, works like a charm for pressing out sticky things) until it takes the shape of a square about 1/2" thick.
Score lines (to form 16 squares) into the mixture using a wet knife.
Bake at 300 degrees for about 30 minutes, until your desolate, packed-up apartment begins to smell happy and buttery again, and the edges are just beginning to turn golden brown. Remove and let cool at least halfway (although they are pretty great with a little lingering oven warmth in them). Eat one, then sigh and lean back deeper into the kitchen counter, then eat another. Think about your life. Breathe. Think about the future. Smile. You're gonna get through moving day, little one.
( *An impending cross-country move is by no means a requirement for making these granola squares, although it certainly does help with all that. You could just make these as a way to clean out your pantry, if you want. They're good for that, too)