I’ve been away from this blog for a bit and have been using my limited ‘extra time’ on other projects.
This recipe, however, I could just not resist sharing. Several folks have already asked for it, so I figured I would just post it here.
I have been buying the chewy fruit & nut trail mix granola bars from our grocery store for quite a while and enjoy them very much. Last week, however, I noticed a clear gummy sticky lump at the bottom of one and figured it was just a little extra granola ‘glue’ on that particular bar which led me to read the ingredients… which is odd since I usually carefully read the ingredients on the things I buy… anyway – to my dismay there was “corn sugar” as they are craftily calling it these days in not one, not two, but three nasty forms in these bars I have been faithfully feeding myself and my kids for years. So, off to the internet to find a recipe to make my own! I combined a few I found and also dug into my memory bank from a project on cereal snack bars I worked on ass a product development intern many years ago. This is what I came up with:
Homemade Granola Bars:
1/2 cup old fashioned oats – ground (I have a dedicated coffee grinder for oats, nuts, flax, etc)
1 cup old fashioned oats
2 tablespoons flax seeds, ground
1/2 cup almonds, coarsely ground
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely ground
1 cup puffed rice
Mix these ingredients and toast on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes or so at 350°, stirring every couple of minutes.
Meanwhile, combine in a saucepan or microwaveable bowl (I used the latter):
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon sunflower butter
1 tablespoon peanut butter
4 tablespoons butter (or coconut oil if you prefer to avoid dairy)
a dash of salt
Heat until melted and combined over medium heat, or microwave about 2 minutes stirring every 30 seconds until melted and combined. By this time, your dry ingredients will be nice and toasty. Take your cookie sheet out of the oven and sprinkle on top:
A big handful of craisins
Two big handfuls of raisins
A big handful of dried (sweetened or not, your choice) coconut flakes
A medium handful of dried apricots, chopped up
(You could also substitute any other dried fruits you like here… and speaking of substitutions you could also use different nuts if you like.)
Next comes the fun… dump the dry stuff into the wet stuff and stir! When everything is thoroughly combined, line two bread pans with waxed paper (I just used one long piece in each pan). Split the mixture between the two pans. Fold the ends of the paper over and press. Using two matching pans works great because you can stack the pans to press the mixture in, then switch and press the other pan in the same manner. I refrigerated over night since I made them at night but I think a few hours would do. They don’t really need to be kept refrigerated but it makes cutting them easier. After they are cooled and firm, remove from the pans and remove the wax paper. Mine were slightly stuck to the paper but I chose not to grease the paper and make the bars greasy… its up to you! I am also cheap when it comes to wax paper so maybe if I had higher quality paper I might not have encountered this issue… Anyway, once they are unwrapped, use a large knife and cut each “loaf” into bars. My loaf pans made seven nicely sized bars, similar to store bought size, so the whole batch made fourteen bars! That’s more than twice the amount in a regular box AND they are yummy and free of any nasty over-processed corn derivatives. Enjoy!