Monday, March 1, 2010

Delicious and nutritious chewy granola bars

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I love to make homemade crunchy granola, but it's not really a food that travels well. As we prepared to go away for the weekend, I decided to give homemade granola bars a try. The good thing about homemade granola or granola bars is that you can fill them with whatever you like. Choose your favorite fruits, seeds and nuts; experiment with different combinations. For my chewy granola bars, I went with raisins, apricots, almonds, flax seed, unsweetened coconut and sunflower seeds. I also added some sea salt for a salty-sweet taste that's great any time of day.

A few tips: pack them into the pan well. They'll "stick" together a little better if you use quick oats, but I prefer less-processed old-fashioned oats. If you like sweeter granola bars, add an extra 1/4 cup of sugar to what I list below. The fruit adds some sweetness, as does the nut butter, but do what tastes good to you.

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Chewy granola bars
adapted from kingarthurflour.com

1 2/3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup granulated sugar, optional (see "tips" at right)
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup quick oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
2-2 1/2  cups dried fruits and nuts*
1/3 cup peanut or almond butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 Tbsp. melted butter
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. corn syrup
1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment, then lightly grease the pan.

Toss together all the dry ingredients, including the fuit and nuts.

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In another bowl, mix the melted butter, corn syrup, vanilla, and water.

Toss the wet ingredients with the dry and stir in the nut butter. Combine until well-mixed and crumbly. Turn the mixture into the pan and pat it evenly in the bottom of the pan, pressing down. (If it's sticky, use a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper.)

Bake for 30 minutes, or until edges are browned.

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Use a knife (or bench knife) to cut the bars while they're still warm in the pan. Carefully remove warm bars from the pan, and cool on a rack. Alternatively, remove from the pan before cutting into bars; it helps to cut in half first, then loosen the bottom of each half with a turner/spatula before turning out onto a sheet of parchment to cut into bars.

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Wrap bars individually to store in plastic wrap or waxed paper; or place in a single layer on a plate, and cover with plastic; or store in layers with parchment in between. In humid weather, it's best to store bars in the refrigerator. They also freeze well.

*I used 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots, 1/2 cup rasins, 3/4 cup chopped almonds, 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds and a couple tablespoons flax seed.

4 comments:

Nour El-Zibdeh said...

This is great... thank you for the recipe. I'm a dietitian and really not very happy with the "cereal bar" collection in groceries. Either not enough fiber or protein, too much sugar, too much fat, or too much processed stuff. I started making my own granola and was looking for a granola bar recipe... excited to try it!

Lauren said...

These look great, I love recipes where you can experiment with the different flavours and ingredients, while still sticking to a basic plan. This looks great!

Mary said...

Just wondering where you got that cute heart Spatula> I really would love to know. Your photos were beautiful!

ladyberd said...

Mary - the spatula was a gift from my mom - it's from either Crate and Barrel or Williams-Sonoma - both stores are favorites of ours and usually have seasonal or holiday themed spatulas. I've got a whole collection! thanks for the comment.

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