Thursday, September 20, 2012

Chewy Granola Bars

We've really been trying to make more food items at home rather than buying them. I've been making a lot of burritos, soups, bread, salsa, etc. I thought today I could try something that I haven't done before -- granola bars. These were my first attempt and they turned out quite nicely I must say. This recipe makes enough bars to fit in a 9 x 13 pan (I cut 18 bars).

3 c. old fashioned oats (or 2 c. oats and 1 c. puffed cereal)*
1 c. nuts or seeds (I used a combination of chopped almonds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds)
1 c. chopped dried fruit (I used only dates)
1 c. liquid sweetener (I used 1/2 c. coconut nectar and 1/2 c. maple syrup)
1/2 c. nut butter (I used all natural chunky peanut butter)
2 tbsp. Earth Balance
1 tsp. vanilla extract

optional toppings (I used chocolate chips)

*if making gluten-free, make sure your oats are certified GF.

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a 9 x 13 pan, toss in your oats and nuts and mix thoroughly. Heat this in the oven, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. If using puffed cereal, you'll add this in at the end with the dried fruit.

- Meanwhile, using a small pot, heat your liquid sweetener, nut butter, and Earth Balance on medium heat until just melted. Add in your vanilla extract. Make sure to stir this occasionally as well.
- When your oats and liquids are ready, mix them together in a large mixing bowl. Add in your dried fruits and stir in. You can just use a spoon for this.
- Lower heat to 300 degrees.
- Place parchment paper in your 9 x 13 pan and spoon in your mixture. You'll want to flatten your mixture down to make even bars. It was easiest for me to use another piece of parchment paper on top and press down with my hands.

- Press in your optional toppings now. You can use a variety of things -- chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, coconut, etc. The possibilities are endless! I only used a small amount of chocolate chips since the dates are sweet enough as is.

- Bake for 15 minutes and then let cool in pan completely.
- When everything is cooled, take your parchment paper with the mixture out. If you find that your parchment paper is sticking, heat up your pan for about a minute and place your mixture back into the pan. Let sit for a minute or so and your paper should come right off! I find that this happens with unbleached parchment paper sometimes.

- Cut bars into whatever size you prefer. I cut 18 bars -- 6 x 3.

- Individually wrap each bar in plastic wrap or just keep them in an air tight container. Be aware that these may stick to each other! I am storing mine in the refrigerator since I used chocolate chips; however, this isn't necessary.

- Eat up!

These things are great for school or work lunches or just a lazy snack at home. They are perfectly sweetened with a touch of saltiness from the peanut butter. These would taste great with almond butter, too. The great thing about granola bars is that you can make so many combinations! This will definitely be my go-to recipe from now on.

No comments:

Post a Comment