Sunday, October 16, 2011

Granola Bars

Granola bars are a great snack, but I can never justify buying them at the store.  They are either too sweet or have a handful of unnecessary ingredients.  Making them at home is the way to go, except that it's not easy to find the right kind of granola bar recipe.  Many have too much oil and sugar or are too crumbly.   After several batches and lots of tweaking, I've found a granola bar recipe that suits me. I wouldn't call these bars chewy,  but they're also not hard or too crunchy.   They're just in between, which I find really nice.  Plus, the dark chocolate chips and the cinnamon make them a satisfying dessert packed with oats and nuts.

The original recipe calls for flax meal.  I realize that flax is very healthy, but I found that it was a distracting flavor. Instead, I threw in almonds that I had blended into a fine texture.  Turns out, almonds are healthy too.

Granola Bars
adapted from The New York Times

Looking for just granola? See my note at the bottom.*

3 Tbsp canola oil
2 cups oats
1/2 cup almonds, finely ground 
scant 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Butter or oil a 9-inch square baking pan. 

Heat oil over medium heat in a wide saucepan. Add oats and nuts. Stir until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.   Place in a bowl. Add cinnamon and salt.  Wipe out any oat or nut residue from the saucepan.

Combine the honey, brown sugar, and vanilla in the same saucepan and heat on medium high.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Gently add honey mixture to oat and nuts.  Allow to cool for a few minutes, then fold in chocolate chips.

Spread mixture into a pan and press down firmly. Bake in oven for about 18 minutes.  Remove from the oven, and cool completely. (If you cut into them early, they will crumble). Cut into bars with a large, sharp knife.  Store in a sealed bag or container.


This recipe can easily be made into granola.  Follow the directions above, omitting chocolate chips and cooking for 20 minutes.  You could also use chopped almonds instead of finely ground. Let cool slightly, and break up granola with a knife.

Accidental granola from a previous batch.

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