Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Homemade Granola Bars

These rich chewy treats are so delicious and satisfying, you will be so glad you didn't buy the generic one's at the grocery store.  This recipe is extremely versatile, if you don't like an ingredient, you just add a different one.  Basically, you add the dried fruit and nuts that you like best and leave it at that.  I must make a note here that I did use butter because I really don't think there is anything better than oats cooking in butter and honey.  However, that being said, feel free to use a healthier oil if you like.  I think coconut oil would make a great substitute.  For this recipe, I used a variety of nuts and berries  but by all means do not feel obligated to follow my choices.  Explore your own taste buds.  After all, variety is the spice of life!

Chunky, chewy, sweet and salty:  this is the best granola bar you will ever eat

A stack of granola bars with a rich glass of milk makes the perfect breakfast

1 2/3c quick rolled oats (If gluten free, use gluten free oats like me such as Bob's Red Mill)
1/2c granulated sugar
1/3c oat flour (I put 1/3c oats into a food processor until finely ground)
1/2tsp fine sea salt
1/2tsp cinnamon
3c dried fruit and nuts (I used 2c dried fruit and 1c nuts: specifically, I used 2c dried mixed berries including cranberries, cherries and blueberries as well as 1c of a mix of nuts including sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, slivered almonds and pistachios.  Feel free to experiment here!  Add in some chocolate or coconut if you like, make this bar your own!)
1/3c nut butter (I used creamy raw almond butter from Trader Joe's)
2tsp vanilla extract
6tbs melted butter
1/4c honey
2tbs light corn syrup
1tbs water

1. Preheat your oven to 350F.  Line an 8x8 pan with parchment and grease the paper.
2. Stir together the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, butter, liquid sweeteners, nut butter and water.
Store them in a single layer between parchment sheets
3. Toss the wet ingredients in with the dry and mix until well combined and sticky.  Spread into the prepared pan, pressing firmly down so that the mix is molded to the shape of the pan and compacted.
4. Bake the bars 30-40 minutes, or until they are brown at the edges, browning at the top, and are still soft and under-baked in the center.
5. Cool the bars COMPLETELY before cutting or they will fall apart.  I chilled mine to room temperature on the counter and then again in the refrigerator until cold and then cut them into bars with a serrated knife.
6. To store, place them on parchment paper and in an airtight container.  I store mine in the refrigerator to keep them fresh.

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