Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Granola Bars

I heard rumors that granola was not too difficult to make, but I just never got around to seeing if there was any validity to that claim. I think it was one of those things where everyone was saying how easy it was, but since it's so delicious, in my opinion, I didn't really believe it could be all that easy and was afraid I'd be the one person in the world that couldn't make it. But the price of granola in stores and the overwhelming amount of things that I had around the house that were just begging to be part of granola made me cave in. And what do you know?! It is easy to make! This is a huge breakthrough for me. I've thoroughly enjoyed having these granola bars to snack on all week as opposed to picking at the cookie dough that was sitting in the fridge. The downside is that I've eaten way to much of them way to fast. Guess it's time to make some more!

And now a note about this recipe. You may notice that there are two ingredient lists. No, this was not an accident. The first is the exact ingredient list for "Kitchen Sink Granola Bars." But I didn't have all the exact ingredients to make them, so I improvised here and there and I thought I'd share with you what I used so that you could make the same bars I did. I mean, that is, if you want to. But really, don't feel obligated to use what I used, or even what the original recipe instructs. There's a lot of freedom to be had. If you don't like nuts, don't put them in. If you don't have agave, use maple syrup. If you hate oats, well, you probably shouldn't be making granola bars...sorry. But go crazy, let your imagination run wild and please let me know if you come across a super winning combination.

Granola Bars


spray canola or olive oil
2 cups steel cut oats
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (or more fruit/grains)
1/2 cup whole nuts (for chunky texture)
1 cup chopped nuts (assorted)
1/2 cup flax seed meal or wheat germ, pan toasted
2/3 cup wet sweetener (such as agave syrup or maple syrup)
1/4 cup another variety of sweetener (wet or dry)
4 tablespoons vegan buttery spread
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
*adjust salt based on how many of your nuts are pre-salted
1 1/2 cup dried fruit assortment
1/2 cup seeds (sunflower, sesame, poppy, etc.)

thin layer of dark chocolate chips as a topping
substitute half the buttery spread with a nut butter such as almond or peanut butter

E's Ingredients:

a bit of canola oil
2 cups steel cut oats
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup large chunks of pecans
1/2 cup pecans chopped into small pieces
2/3 cup agave syrup
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan buttery spread
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup dried cranberries and blueberries
1/2 cup poppy seeds
about 1/4 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli brand)


Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.

Layer parchment paper or foil in a casserole dish, or pan (just something that is somewhat deep). Grease the insides of the pan with canola oil or olive oil.

In a large mixing bowl, add the oats, coconut, and nuts and toss well. Transfer this dry mix to your pan. Spray a bit of the oil on top of the dry mix to help the toasting process.

Place the pan in the oven to toast for 10 minutes.

Over low heat, toast your flax seed meal or wheat germ in a dry pan for about 1 minute. Transfer the toasted meal to a large mixing bowl ( if you're not using flax seed meal or wheat germ, skip this step).

In a small to medium saucepan, heat the buttery spread, liquid and dry sweeteners, vanilla extract, salt, and cinnamon over medium to high heat. Heat until the ingredients have melted together and the mixture become bubbly. When it starts to bubble, turn the heat to low.

I forgot to take pictures during the whole cooking process. So here are the dirty spoons for proof that I did all the above steps.

Measure the fruit and seed ingredients and place in a large mixing bowl. Toss well.

By now, your ten minute oat/coconut/nut mix should be lightly toasted. Take the pan out of the oven and transfer the toasted dry ingredients to the mixing bowl with the fruit and seeds.

Turn the oven down to 300˚ F.

Pour the butter/sugar mixture into the mixing bowl with all the oats, nuts, seeds, and fruit, and stir well until the mixture is thick, firm, and well combined.

Pour the entire mixture into your lined dish/pan. Add any toppings you want (chocolate chips, crushed nuts, etc.).

Bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes.

Allow the granola to cool for at least an hour before slicing into bars. Allow the bars to fully cool in the fridge for storage. Bars will become chewy and firm in a cold fridge.

Makes approximately 12 bars (depending on how big you cut them).


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