Last two days — for anyone in the Chicago area with kids, I’m giving away a family four pack to Disney on Ice for Februay 2!
You’ll be proud of me. I have pictures this week. Yep, actual honest to goodness pictures. And this has nothing to do with the fact that I made these treasures after the wee ones were in bed and not when I was racing to get food on the table. Nope, not a thing to do with it.
So. I make granola on a regular basis. I love my granola. In fact, I make it often enough that I keep two 32 ounce containers of plain yogurt (about the only way to avoid HFCS unfortunately) in the fridge to pour over my morning treat. Yum.
I’ve never made granola bars though. The wee ones love them, but for some uknown reason, they’ve always scared me. Silly, I know. But I decided to throw caution to the wind and make some for the wee ones. I modified my regular granola recipe slightly, and voila! I have granola bars. Tomorrow, I need to get a picture of the wee ones wolfing these treasures down.
Oh, and Jen, if you ask nicely, I’ll make you some of these, too.
Homemade Granola Bars
3 c oats (not the quick cooking kind)
3/4 c coconut, flaked
1 c wheat bran – optional
1 c flax seeds (ground or whole, whichever is fine although I prefer whole) – optional
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg, fresh ground
1/4 c olive oil
2/3 c honey (or maybe a little bit more)
1/4 c brown sugar, scant
1 c dried fruits, variety all chopped to be about the same size
(This part is totally optional) Place the oatmeal and coconut on an ungreased baking sheet and toast at 300 degees for about 10 minutes. This adds to the flavor but totally isn’t necessary if you don’t have the time.
Heat a heavy small saucepan over medium heat, and add the oil and honey (hint: if you’re using a liquid measuring cup, put the oil in first then the honey atop it, and it helps the honey slide out more easily). Add the brown sugar, and heat until boiling. Stir for another minute, then remove from the heat.
Put the toasted oatmeal and coconut into a large mixing bowl. Add the wheat germ and flax seed (also both optional, but they’re yummy and healthy!), as well as the cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well.
Add the heated honey mixture to a well made in the center of the dry ingredients.
Stir until well mixed. This is much easier and faster than it is when making the regular granola version. Add the dried fruits and stir again. I used raisins, craisins, and cherries for my dried fruits, and they work together very nicely. You can use one kind or many, but more than about a cup total seems to make it too fruity, at least for me.
Place this into a 13×9 greased pan. I also laid a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan to help the granola come out in a single piece more easily. It worked well.
Slightly wet your hands (I figured this one out the hard way) and gently press down onto the mixture to ensure that it is flat and even. I found that I “had” to rearrange some of my fruit, as it seemed to all want to head to the edges and I wanted a more even distribution.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool overnight (or at least until totally and completely room temperature). Use a knife to loosen the sides, and then plop out the giant granola bar. Use a very sharp knife — or in my case, as serrated knife, as I proved yet again that it’s time to get my knives professionally sharpened — to slice into the shape you desire. I made essentially 16 bars from this, but I probably could have made them a bit smaller or a different shape, and they would have worked out just fine.
And as for those little crumbs left over from the cutting? I just scooped them up into a bowl, and that was my breakfast… along with a little yogurt, of course.
And does anyone know how to remove the fingerprint Mister Man has apparently put on my camera lens? *sigh*