Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Homemade Granola Bars

So, now we take the homemade granola a step further. In bar form.

I don't usually crave granola bars, but I have to admit, they're awfully handy as a snack. Especially the peanut butter and/or chocolate ones ;) Yanno... extra protein! Antioxidants! Or.... something. :P

So in an effort to have better things on hand for lunches, I decided to try my hand at making granola bars this weekend.

I was inspired by a post on granola bars supposedly served at the White House. Though others who had made the bars as the recipe stated weren't too happy with the results, so I took a cue from Stephanie Cooks and tweaked it a bit.

They came out great and I've been enjoying them all week. Great way to get some whole grains into your diet as well as to use up some of those ingredients that kick around the pantry, feeling unloved. And heck, it's cheaper than the store bought stuff and you know exactly what's going into it! Here's the final recipe I used:

Basic Granola Bars
1 cup rolled oats (toasted)
1/2 cup flax seed (whole)
1/2 cup mix of chia and sunflower seeds
1 cup dried currants
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup sweetener (honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, etc)
1/4 cup peanut butter

Mix up the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a saucepan, heat the oil, peanut butter and sweetener together, stir until it is liquid and smooth. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients.
A tip on patience here... add a bit and mix, then add a bit more until you get the right consistency. It is ok to have some of the liquid left at the end rather than dump it all in and realize your bars are too liquid-y. Basically you want an end result that is fully coated and holds together well. Test it by pressing some of the mix against the side of the bowl, if it holds together, you're good! If not, tweak with more wet or dry ingredients as needed.
Once ready, simply press the mix into a well-oiled baking dish. I used an 8x8 pan which gave me thick bars. Toss it in a 350F oven for about 15-20 minutes (keep an eye on it, as different oils/sweeteners will burn at different points) then allow to cool on a wire rack completely. Once cooled, cut them into bars and store in the fridge.

Suggestions: You can change up the ingredients in this recipe easily, just try to keep the 3 parts dry to 1 part wet ratio (it doesn't have to be exact). You can add nuts, seeds, spices, fruits, dry cereal, chocolate to your heart's content. You can try different nut butters and sweeteners. The sky's the limit! :) Enjoy!

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