Continuing with my New Year’s resolution, I decided to try my hand at making granola bars for another lunch snack instead of store bought. I found a great recipe on Smitten Kitchen (http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/02/thick-chewy-granola-bars/) and made some changes to the recipe.
We had our first snow fall of the New Year, so it was the perfect day to do some baking and experimenting. I put some Etta James on the CD player, in tribute to a great singer as she passed away last Friday. She has such a powerful voice and it kept the groove in the kitchen shaking and moving, along with some loud, most likely off-key singing!
Thick, Chewy Granola Bars
Ingredients (listed from Smitten Kitchen, with my alteration in pararenthis)
1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats (I do not have quick oats, so I used the same amount, but pulsed them in the food processor, to break them up a little)
1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar (I used 1/2 cup organic cane sugar)
1/3 cup oat flour (I did not have oat flour, so I used the same amount of oats and processed in the food processor)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts (my combo was: ground Chia seeds, dried apples, dried apricots, pecans and coconut)
1/3 cup peanut butter or another nut butter (I used sunflower seed butter) (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup honey, maple syrup or corn syrup (I used honey)
2 tablespoons light corn syrup (I used agave nectar)
1 tablespoon water
2. Place 1 2/3 cups oats in the food processor and pulse several times, to break them up a little. Pour into a large glass bowl along with the 1/3 cup oat flour.
3. Cut up your dried fruit. I used apples and apricots that I had dried after picking them this past summer. Actually I used my kitchen scissors and cut them. Placing them into a measuring cup with some coconut, ground chia seeds(a friend gave me some to try – I am ordering these!) and pecans. I did not measure any of the amount, just stopped when I hit the 3 cup mark. I could have processed in the food processor, but chose not to. I love using my pestle and mortar, so decided to do the nuts in that. Add to the oats.
4. Add the sugar, salt and cinnamon to the oats mixture.
5. Melt the butter.
6. Line a 8x8x2 pan with 1 piece of parchment paper and lightly oil the parchment paper and any exposed pan sides. My parchment paper is wide and I did not have any exposed pan sides.
8. In a separate bowl combine the vanilla, honey (sweetener), corn syrup (or replacement) water and the butter. The heat of the butter will make the other ingredients become more fluid.
9. Add the liquid ingredients and nut/seed butter, if using to the oats mixture and mix until it is a crumbly consistency.
11. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, until they are brown around the edges. When you touch the center they will still seem soft, but that is ok – these are suppose to be chewy granola bars.
12. Cool the pan completely on a wire rack – you can lift the bars out using the parchment paper and place the parchment on bars onto a wire rack after about 20 – 30 minutes. Let the bars cool completely – if you just can’t wait – place in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process. Use a serrated knife to cut into bars.
To store, wrap the individual bars with plastic wrap or in a single layer in an airtight container. You can also freeze them. I keep mine in the refrigerator, but if it is not too humid you can leave them out.
I wanted to try these, so I used a dried fruit/nut mixture I could eat. The next time I am going to use coconut oil instead of butter and then mix some dried strawberries, pineapple, ground chia seeds and shredded coconut – a tropical granola bar.