Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Homemade Granola Bars

Probably 4 or 5 times a week I eat a granola bar. I use the word "granola bar" loosely, because what I'm talking about are Luna bars or Larabars. I used to eat Luna bars more, but lately I've been feeling like they're too candy-like for me. So I've been eating more Larabars lately. I like that the ingredient list (depending on the flavor) usually reads like this: dates, walnuts, apples, raisins, cinnamon. But it's kind of a pureed texture, and I want something crunchier.

The produce section is right inside the entrance of the Whole Foods I go to, and within the produce section are the grain/rice/dried fruit/nuts/beans dispensers. I know I'm getting old because I like to go look at them like I used to look around Sweet Factory in the mall when I was 10.

So between wanting a crunchier granola bar, and wanting to buy a little bit of everything from those dispensers...I figured I should try to make my own granola bars. I did some research online, and Ina Garten has a granola bar recipe. I love all of her recipes, so I gave it a try...and they are sooooo good. Oh Barefoot Contessa, you're the best. I made them last week and am going to make them again today - that should tell you how good they are. Here's the recipe - hers calls for cranberries but I used raisins, and I used a little less honey. I also added flax seeds. Letting them cool for 2 hours sounds crazy, but you really do need to because they'll fall apart if cut while still warm.

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.

Toss the oatmeal, almonds, coconut, and flax seeds together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates, apricots, and raisins and stir well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.

1 comment:

  1. I can vouch for these - they are delicious! Sissy was kind enough to bring some to Boston for me

    You could send me some more if you wanted.