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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Granola bars....two ways

I'm leaving for vacation this weekend.  It is, in my humble opinion, way overdue and well deserved.  I ended the week at work with two very long and hard days.  Seven days in the Carribean seems to be just what the doctor, er nurse practitioner, ordered!

Our flight is at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday.  That's early for a Sunday (at least for me, if i'm not working).  Especially when you take into account the amount of time it takes to get to the airport and the amount of time before your flight that you are required to arrive.  I figured some homemade granola bars for breakfast would be a nice treat for those of us going (all 21 of us!). 

The only issue was what kind of granola bars - fruit-based or chocolate-based.  Eventually, I decided on both of them.  Besides the "add ins" in the granola bars, the recipes did vary.  The majority of the ingredients were the same - oats, honey, brown sugar, wheat germ - and involved mixing the honey and brown sugar over heat and then mixing it with the dry ingredients.  One major difference - the first batch required baking them, whereas the second batch did not (I recommend baking them the full amount of time, as I think I underbaked mine and they were a little crumbly when I was cutting them).  Additionally, the chocolate chip granola bars call for flax and rice krispie cereal.

Individually wrapped with wax paper and some twine

A mixture of the two types of granola bars all wrapped up :)
Granola Bars with Almonds and Apricots

8 oz (approximately 2 cups) old-fashioned rolled oats
1.5 oz (approximately 1/2 cup) raw sunflower seeds
3 oz (approximately 1 cup) sliced almonds
1.5 oz (approximately 1/2 cup) wheat germ
6 oz (approximately 1/2 cup), honey
1.75 oz (approximately 1/4 cup packed) dark brown sugar
1 oz unsalted butter, plus more to butter the pan
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp kosher salt
6.5 oz chopped dried fruit (any combination - Alton Brown recommends apricots, cherries, or blueberries)

(And yes, against my better judgement, I actually WEIGHED the ingredients and didn't measure them out, which would've been SO much easier!)

Butter a 9x9" glass baking dish (I used a metal pan, and sprayed it with pam instead of buttering it) and preheat the oven to 350F.
Spread the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, and wheat germ on a pan.  Toast in the oven for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Combine the honey, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt in a medium saucepan.  Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved.
Once the oats are toasted, remove them from the oven.  Decrease the oven temperature to 300F. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine.
Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture.
Bake for 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Cut into squares (or bars, as I chose to do) and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

1/2 cup of honey or corn syrup (I used honey)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cups quick oats
2 cups Rice Krispie cereal (I used Trader Joe's brand) 
1/4 cup ground flax seed (of note, I bought whole flax seeds and had a very hard time grinding them...I advise that you buy the flax seeds ground.  I also assume - though I didn't try (I wish I had) - that using wheat germ in place of the ground flax seeds may work as well)
1 or 2 Tbsp wheat germ
1 c. total of your favorite mix-ins

In a small sauce pan, mix honey and/or corn syrup and brown sugar.
Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar is completely dissolved – Stir constantly.
Remove from heat and quickly stir in peanut butter.
Mix the oats, cereal, flax seed, and optional wheat germ in a large bowl.
Pour honey mixture over dry ingredients — mix well.
Stir in chocolate chips or other  "mix-ins" (ie. nuts, dried fruit, or others)
Press mixture into a 9″ x 13″ pan that has been greased or lined with wax paper.
Let cool and harden a little
Cut into bars and store in an air-tight container. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the granola bar recipe. I am definitely going to try to make the chocolate ones.