Monday, May 3, 2010

Granola Bars

Granola Bars

I finished up two work projects last week, finally, and am now trying to do all the work I wasn’t doing while I was doing those. Once I’m through the work part, I’ll try to tackle the life part, including getting my weekly reports and receipts up.

In the meantime, here’s another recipe to tide you over.

I’ve been thinking for a while about making granola bars — or some other kind of bar item to eat instead of Luna or Kind bars — but it turned out I was thinking about them wrong. I was thinking you made granola and then made that into bars, but actually you make granola and cook it packed into a pan as bars instead of loose on a baking sheet. Not nearly as complicated as I was imagining it.

A few weeks ago when I talked about granola, someone posted a link to Smitten Kitchen with a granola bar recipe she said was really good. So I’d been wanting to try that, and I was scheduled to work at an overnight Scrap event on Saturday 4/24 and decided to spend my $15 per diem on granola bar fixins so I could make those and take with me to eat at the event.

Granola Fixins

Granola Fixins

I bought pecans and macadamia nuts and dried cherries (Bulk Sweetened Tar) for the granola bars and got a resupply of oats (which initially were rung in as pecans, good thing the cashier noticed that, that’s a big difference) and also a big bag of almonds which I figured I could either use in the granola or take with me to the event or eat as snacks in the course of my regularly scheduled life. Was too distracted to estimate properly and went over my $15 budget. But knew I’d have stuff left over, it all evens out eventually, so not too worried.

I ended up not managing to get the granola bars made before the event so I just took the bag of fruit and nuts with me and snacked on that, then made the bars on Sunday after I got back.

You can get the original recipe here, or here’s my version:

Granola Bars
modified from Smitten Kitchen

1-2/3 cups rolled oats pulsed in the food processor to chop them into smaller pieces
1/3 cup oat flour [old-fashioned rolled oats processed into flour]
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/3 cup peanut butter

3 cups dried fruit and nuts

nuts & seeds: 3 oz. macadamia nuts, 3 oz. pecans, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, 2 Tbsp sesame seeds, 1 Tbsp flax seeds, approx. 1 oz. leftover mixed peanuts and cashews (use whatever you like combined with whatever you have around)

dried fruit: 1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 cup dried cherries

6 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp molasses
2 Tbsp simple sugar syrup [2:1 sugar to water, boiled to combine]
1 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8 x 8 baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease the parchment.

Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately, then add nuts and seeds and dried fruit to dry ingredients, and stir. (If your dried fruit is sticking together, you might want to take a second to separate it — I ended up with big clumps of cherries in mine, instead of having them evenly distributed throughout.) Add peanut butter and wet ingredients and stir together until everything is evenly coated and the fruit and nuts are evenly distributed.

Put the mixture in the prepared pan and press press press to pack it in. Cook until the top is evenly brown.

And this is something really important that Smitten Kitchen fails to emphasize properly.

This recipe has to be cooked until the top is BROWN, it really needs to be cooked. It’s not like cookies or brownies where you take them out early to finish cooking because you want them a little gushy. If you don’t cook them enough you get granola blobs.

Like this.

Granola Blobs

Granola Blobs

I did mine in three small loaf pans because my toaster oven works better than my oven so that’s what I use to cook most things. The first one was really brown, I thought it was too done so the other two I cooked less and the first one was the only one that I was able to cut into bars. The others still taste good, but they’re hard to eat. And it’s really easy to eat way too much of it because there’s no actual unit, it’s just a big mess of granola.

Tasty, but dangerous.

5 Responses to “Granola”

  1. Lorrie Says:

    Glad you got a chance to make the granola bars! You are right — they are dangerous! They don’t last too long around my house. My 18 yr. old son and 14 yr. old daughter eat them in a couple of days when I make a double batch. I love the recipe because it is so versatile. For your other readers, if you go to the smitten kitchen site, make sure you go to the thick chewy granola bar recipe (adapted from King Arthur Flour) The site has another granola bar recipe but the thick chewy one is the one posted here and the one that is most delicious!

    I, like Rebecca, also use canola oil instead of butter. It works great. I use the quick oats like in the original recipe since I always have both the quick and old fashioned (thick cut) on hand. For those of you who might be allergic to peanuts or tree nuts like my daughter, the recipe turns out fine without adding any nut butter or nuts. Can you tell I LOVE this recipe?

  2. lessisenough Says:

    Yes, thank you so much for posting the link! They are really good.

    The “original recipe here” link in my post goes to the thick chewy granola bar recipe on Smitten Kitchen.

    Another friend just sent me some other links to granola bar/energy bar recipes, so I may have further comments on this subject soon. It’s biking season so it would be great to have stuff I can eat quickly before or after a ride. These ones are definitely winners.

  3. Lorrie Says:

    Oops! I guess I didn’t notice you had the thick chewy link, too. Will look forward to more granola bar posts.

  4. puppersnail Says:

    I subbed agave for molasses and simple syrup, used pepitas, sunflower seeds, and dried cranberries (chopped small), and ground the almonds into coarse flour. I also subbed almond butter for peanut butter, as I don’t eat peanuts. I pressed it all into a 6″x6″ pan (so it would fit in my toaster oven) and baked at 350 for 40 minutes. The top was VERY brown and the bottom was as well, so brown I thought I might have burned the batch, but once I cooled them in the fridge they cut like magic and had no issue staying together in bar form. I think having the almonds and oats pulsed into flour helps these bars stick together better. My partner LOVES them… so much so that I think I’ll have the same problem as everyone else – making them last for a week of breakfasts or snacks!

  5. lessisenough Says:

    Thanks for the report.

    I think these definitely benefit from longer cooking. I’m used to cookies that you want to take out a little bit undercooked, so that’s my tendency, but these totally fell apart when I did that.

    The substitutions all sound good, and it does seem like having some ground oats and flour would help them stick together. Along with cooking them long enough, and letting them cool all the way.

    They are definitely worth making.

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