Thursday, March 17, 2011

"Clean out the drawers" Granola Bars

"Spring has sprung" least the clocks have changed...this also means Spring cleaning is on the way.

i decided to start out with something easy and just clean out one of the over flowing baking drawers.  what do you do with bits and bobs of chips, nuts, seeds, banana chips, dried fruits and various smidgens of left over goodies...?
throw as much of it as you can into a Healthy Granola Bar

you might even call these...
Everything but the Kitchen Sink Granola Bars

i must admit, this one batch didn't really make a dent in the messy drawer of baking goodies i have, but it DID help...and i know every baker out there has one or two of these drawers i'm talking about...right?...for these yummy, crunchy bars i like to use the base recipe i found a few years ago by Alton Brown.  i have radically made changes to the original recipe, but you might want to check the link.  as a matter of fact i pretty much make these from memory and just throw things in until it looks right.  thank goodness granola bars are very forgiving.  they all turn out delicious.

i make granola bars at least twice a month.  the most requested, and my favorite, is the ELVIS GRANOLA BAR (found here)
this one has peanuts, banana chips and BACON...sometimes dipped in melted peanut butter chips.
this combo is a must try!

the recipe for these bars might be a little hard to write, but i'll try to give an idea of what goes in.
like i mentioned, the base recipe is found HERE from Alton Brown.

start with a 9 x 13 baking pan, buttered or sprayed and lined with parchment.
pre heat oven to 350 F.
spread oats, seeds, nuts (if not already roasted) wheat germ, wheat bran on a cookie sheet and bake in oven for 15 minutes...stirring occasionally.
remove from oven and turn oven down to 300 F

in the meantime...
on the stove in a smallish pot melt together

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 oz butter
3 Tbsp peanut butter or almond butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp kosher salt...(if your nuts are not salted)
stir until completely incorporated and dissolved.  set this aside and rewarm if necessary when ready to add to large bowl of dry goodies.

dry ingredients...put in a large bowl
this is where it's your choice, just try to equal the basic amount in each category...such as oats/cereal, seeds and nuts, dried fruits, healthy stuff and extras like chips of any kind.  for the can always taste test.
my Granola Bar ingredients usually go something like this...

1 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 - 1 cup brown rice cereal or rice krispies
1/2 cup fiber one cereal
1/2 cup seeds...pumpkin and or sunflower
1 cup roasted, lightly salted nuts...virginia peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans whatever
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup wheat bran
2 Tbsp flax
1/4 cup crystallized ginger
1/3 - 1/2 cup dried cranberries or other dried fruit
throw in some banana chips or choc. chips or peanut butter chips if you have them...and or BACON
spices...equaling 1 1/2 teaspoon-ish
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
sometimes a dash of cardamon
sometimes a little cayenne for a kick in the pants

pour the melted ingredients over the dry in about 3 batches stirring in want a nice even coating.  put everything into prepared pan and spread out evenly.  press down...i say,  PRESS DOWN!  this is key to the bars holding together.
put in 300 F oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.  after your first batch you will see that less time makes a softer bar and more time makes a crunchy bar...i prefer CRUNCHY.
remove from oven and let cool completely.
TO GET NICE CUT SQUARES...cut them while they are still in the pan with a very sharp knife.  these will keep for at least a week if you keep them air tight.  i like to wrap them individually in wax paper or parchment and a tight baggie.

my mother always says try the original recipe first then you can play with it however you see fit...
so...if you're into some good granola bars you could go ahead and try Alton's recipe first, but i thought it needed more goodies.  don't be afraid to throw whatever you have in that drawer into the mix.  like i said...
and always delicious!


Federica said...

che meraviglia!! chissà che buona!!ciao!

Aisha Jameel said...

I love granola bars ! Honey , this looks great :)

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Anonymous said...

I love those granola bars, they look so good!

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