Saturday, January 12, 2013

Yummy Granola Bars

This granola bar method is as easy as mixing up a batch of homemade cookies. The amount of honey makes them both slightly indulgent and slightly expensive, but it’s worth it!

* For my add-ins I like to use golden raisins, chocolate chips, chia seeds, coconut flakes and blanched almonds.

1 c. butter, softened (or coconut oil)
4 1/2 c. rolled oats
1 c. honey (I love this one)
1 ½ c. whole wheat or spelt flour or oat flour
1 tsp. vanilla 
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups of add-ins: semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped walnuts, dried fruit, sunflower seeds, coconut, chia seeds, other nuts…
Makes at least 20 bars, equivalent to about 3 boxes processed bars

1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. Line a 9”×13” glass pan with parchment paper. 
3. In a medium saucepan melt butter and add honey stirring and cooking on low for till melted and combined, then add the vanilla. (Let cool for a couple minutes so it won't melt the chocolate chips if you used them)
4. In a large mixing bowl combine oats, flour, baking soda and whatever add-ins you want.  
5. Pour honey, butter, vanilla mixture into dry ingredients and mix till all moistened.
6. Pour mixture into parchment paper/glass dish and press firmly and evenly with a spatula to flatten.
7. Bake at 325 degrees F for 15-22 minutes until just golden brown on the edges.
8. When they come out of the oven they will have puffed up a bit, I like to use a spatula again and press them down, making them more dense for cooling.
8. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars. Even better chill in fridge before cutting. They will keep fine at room temp, but longer in fridge.

✔ Add ¼ c. cocoa powder to the dry ingredients; no chocolate chips needed.
✔ Use ½ c. natural peanut butter, almond butter or sunbutter in place of ½ c. of the butter (stay on the short side of baking time as nut butters can dry out the bars).
✔ Use a large cookie sheet and press the bars more thinly, then do the 'crispy bar' trick for totally crispy granola bars (or put a half batch into a 9x13 pan – just be sure to really press them together before baking.

✔ Can I make these gluten free? Just sub GF all-purpose flour for the whole wheat and it should work fine. Another used a cup mixed sorghum and brown rice flour plus a teaspoon of xanthan gum.
✔ How about dairy free? Coconut oil works fine in place of butter, especially in the nut butter versions.
✔ How long is the shelf life? Seriously, I found a bar in our diaper bag that had been there for months, and it was perhaps a bit lower on the quality scale, but no mold or other issues that would deem them inedible. Generally they are gone so quickly you don’t have to worry about shelf life!
✔ Can I use less honey? Honey is expensive and the “unhealthy” ingredient in this recipe. When you heat the honey, you can definitely cut it down by at least 1/3 cup and everything still holds together. I also had success substituting natural applesauce for up to 1/2 cup honey, but the resulting bars weren’t very sweet. The chocolate chips were a necessity.


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