Thursday, October 24, 2013
Build your own granola bars...
I need to make a batch of granola bars. And coincidentally, my pal texted me today, asking if I had a recipe. I do, and they're awesome. This is a copy and paste from my other blog...so don't be confused by it. lol The italicized parts are copied...just so you know.
I started making granola back in the early 70's. I have always made it over the years, and the recipe is rarely the same twice. That's because I tend to make it with whatever I happen to have in the pantry. My pantry is pretty well stocked most of the time...with things that I grow and can or dehydrate and with some things that I am forced to buy. When my husband started wanting granola bars for his lunch, and I started reading the ingredients and seeing what the cost was, I thought, "Hey!--I could do this better!" I tried several different recipes and settled on the one that I liked the best.
So, here's the ingredient list. Sort of. The honey mixture is the important recipe to follow, as it has to hold the whole shebang together.
2 cups oats
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup crushed peanuts
1/2 cup brown sugar (or barley malt syrup)
1/2 cup honey
4 tbsp. butter or coconut oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup + dried fruit --your choice
1/2 almonds or walnuts,chopped or whole
Heat your oven to 400 degrees. These granola bars are not cooked, but you do want to toast the oats, to get rid of that raw taste. Put 2 cups of old fashioned rolled oats on a baking sheet and toast for 10-15 minutes, stirring often.
In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, honey, butter,vanilla and salt. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. While it's coming to a simmer, take a 9x13 baking pan and line it with parchment paper (or waxed paper that you've sprayed with nonstick spray). Tear your paper long enough that it will lap over the middle of the pan from the ends after you've poured your mix in it (about a foot and a half long).
You want to simmer that honey mixture a while, so that when it cools, it will make a crispy granola bar., maybe 15-20 minutes.
Take your toasted oats, and mix in all the nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. Mix it up good. Then pour the hot honey mixture all over it. Use a big spatula to mix it up real good. You want everything well covered. Then dump it into your paper lined 9x13 pan and use the spatula to spread it out evenly in the pan. Push it into the corners too. Then fold those side pieces of paper over the top of the mixture and press down firmly. You want to compact this mixture as much as you can. Keep pressing until you're sure it's pretty solid.
Then set it aside and let it cool. Once it's good and cool, you want to lift it out by the paper and set it on a cutting board.
Then (or, first, actually) I made 2 batches of granola bars, one for my son and one for here. They are really good too, and chock full of 3 kinds of fruit that I dried (apples, blueberries and cranberries) plus raisins, walnuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, raw sunflower seeds, coconut, flax seeds,and oatmeal and honey, barley malt syrup and butter. Thinking I might try using coconut oil next time. They look like this:
And then get cut into this:
And wrapped. Each batch makes 16-18 bars. I roughly figured it out that it costs about 3 dollars to make a batch. And that's a very rough estimate, since I'm always buying things on sale and stashing them in my pantry and never know from one time to the next what I might have paid...lol
I cut the thing in half lengthwise first, then I cut it into 9 rectangles. This picture looks a little dark, but that's the lighting, not the bars. They are a beautiful golden color. I wrap them in (GUILTY!) small squares of saran wrap, put them in a container with a lid and store them in the fridge. I know exactly what's in them, no hidden ingredients and no excesses of processed sugar. I bought barley malt syrup once when I was making homemade bagels, and I really like to use that in these bars instead of brown sugar. My husband loves them, and so do I ! They're a great healthy snack.
Give them a try and let me know. I often add cinnamon to the oats and nuts mixture too...sometimes I put my roasted pumpkin seeds in there. Sometimes raw sunflower seeds, sometimes roasted. Sometimes chia seeds or flax seeds. Experiment--have a ball !!!
Bon Apetit !