Granola Bars

9/28/10  Hi Everyone.  I am re-working this recipe because a couple of readers have told me that they had trouble with it, namely that it crumbles when they try to cut it.  Tastes great, just crumbles into granola instead of bars.  I am going to leave it up for now as it stands, but am heading back to the kitchen over the next couple of days to see if I can work out the kinks.–Terri

I love Becca.  She is always asking me questions and makes me stretch with my thinking.  This time her question about making granola bars without using corn syrup put my feet to the fire and gave me a good reason to look a little deeper at how I have made granola bars in the past.  Until recently corn syrup was the status quo in most kitchens and in some foods it has properties that may not easily be replaced.  However, granola bars are not one of those foods.  Toss out the corn syrup on this one.

The idea behind granola bars is to use wholesome grains, nuts, and dried fruit and something sweet and syrupy to bind them firmly together.  Whether the bars are soft and chewy or on the crunchier side is decided by the cooking time of the sweet ingredients.  I am sitting here thinking, “I could do it this way and…” or “If I did it that way then…”.  I could send myself to the cliffs of insanity if I go too much deeper into thinking about all the ways to make granola bars; and chances are pretty good that I wouldn’t have Fezzik (Andre the Giant–he lives with Jesus now) to pull me up those cliffs.  Better yet, I’d like it to be Cary Elwes (Wesley), but I am sure that he is otherwise engaged.  Ahhh…I really need to watch “The Princess Bride” again.

Okay, I’m back.  The recipe that I am going to give you is based on the previous recipe for Granola.  It uses half of the dry ingredients stated in the granola recipe and about the same amount of wet ingredients as previously stated.

Granola Bars

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup coconut
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds, ground or whole (I used whole for this recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower kernels
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit–I chose cranberries 
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½-¾ cup brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons salad oil (I used Canola oil. You can also use melted butter.  I’d like to try butter next time.)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract (Other flavorings such as almond work well, too.)

Toss oats, wheat germ, coconut, flax seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower kernels, nuts, and dried fruit together in a large bowl. 

In a separate bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon.  Stir in the salad oil, honey, and vanilla extract.  Pour over the dry ingredients and mix well.  This takes a few minutes to get the wet ingredients well incorporated.

Line a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with foil.  Spray lightly with a cooking spray such as Pam.  Put the granola mixture into the pan and, with your hand or a large spoon, press everything to conform to the shape of the pan.  Place in a 350 degree oven and bake for 20 minutes.

If you would like a thicker granola bar, use an 8″ x 8″ baking pan.  Increase the cooking time to 25-30 minutes.

Remove from oven, allow to cool for a few minutes.  Carefully lift the granola bars out of the baking pan using the foil.  Place on a heat safe solid surface. Pull the foil away from the granola and cut the still warm granola mixture into whatever size bars you choose.  Allow to cool completely.  You may need to run your knife through them one more time to separate them.

For storage, wrap the individual bars in plastic wrap, store in a cool place.

Mix the dry ingredients together.
 Put the brown sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl.
 
Mix together.
Add the oil or melted butter, honey, and vanilla and mix well.  You should have a lovely syrupy mixture.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
Don’t forget to put the fruit in…like I almost did.

NOW stir it all together.  It takes a few minutes to get the wet ingredients well incorporated.  Just keep stirring until everything looks happy together.
Line your baking pan with foil.  Make sure the foil conforms well to the shape of the pan.  Push it into the corners.
Put the granola bar mixture into the pan.  With your hand or the back of a spoon, press the mixture firmly and evenly in the pan. 
Bake at 350-degrees for the specified length of time for the size pan that you are using.  Watch carefully towards the end of the cooking time. You don’t want to get the bars too brown on the edges.  I rescued mine just a little past perfection.  Oh well.  I was running around getting ready for work.  These things happen.
Leave the granola mixture in the pan and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.  Then using the edges of the foil as handles, lift the block of granola from the baking pan.  Set on counter top or cutting board and pull back the foil from the edges of the granola.  The granola should still be quite warm.  With a sharp knife cut the granola block into whatever size bars you want.  I sort of forgot to take a picture of the cut bars on the foil.  Oops again.  I was in a real hurry to leave for work by this time.
Enjoy your bars.  If you have any left over after the first indulgence, wrap them individually in plastic wrap to keep them fresh.

Comments

  1. says

    You & your blogs make my heart happy. Have you ever cooked with Agave syrup (it has a lower glycemic index than honey)? Tuck got me started on it and now I bake my whole wheat bread with it. I’m taking Becca out grocery shopping & we’re going to come home & make your granola bars! I think we’ll try them with honey. Yum! Will let you know. Thanks my dear for taking time to document your fabulous talents on this blog. it makes our tummies happy!

  2. says

    Agave! Why didn’t I think of that? I have a big bottle of it in my pantry…buried. I have used it a couple of times, but to tell you the honest truth I forgot all about it. Now I’m going to have to dig it out and start experimenting with it. As a matter of fact, it is probably the answer to replacing corn syrup on one of the recipes I have been working on this week. I’ma gonna try it tonight! Thanks, Bananie with an “ie”.

  3. says

    Hi Terri,

    I tried to make these granola bars today, it didn’t work out quiet so well. I followed everything and baked for 17 mins. I let the pan cool for 10 mins and when it was time to cut them up they were just crumbling everywhere. It was impossible to get a square/oblong shape out of it. In the end I just crumbled it all up in a big bowl and it’s like granola now. I had it with some plain yoghurt and it was DELICIOUS!

    I would love to try making the bars again so we can take them out as snacks, any idea what I could have done wrong?

  4. says

    Eek! Nabeela, I am so sorry! I will try to re-make the granola bars tomorrow and see if I wrote something down wrong. I have some questions, though. You can either answer the questions here or you can email me. These will help me figure out what might have gone wrong.
    1) Did you use corn syrup or agave instead of the honey?
    2) What size pan did you use–9 x 13 or 8 x 8?

    As for the crumbling it all up, I did that one day to some of my bars because I didn’t have any more granola cereal. I ate them with milk and you’re right, they were delicious that way!

    Again, I feel really bad that they didn’t work out. Maybe they needed to be cooked a longer. I’ll have to experiment. I am working for the next two days, but I will solve this mystery

  5. says

    Hey Terri,

    Thanks for your efforts!

    1) I used honey
    2) I used a 9 x 13 pan

    I was wondering whether I didn’t cook it long enough but it was going to start burning on the edges if I left it there too long…

  6. says

    PS – I tried the granola with milk today instead of yoghurt) OMG. I was in heaven!!!! Totally TOTALLY delicious and so much more flavourful with milk than yoghurt…

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