Bakery, Bar Cookies & Brownies, Desserts, Snacks

Homemade Granola Bars

0 Comments 18 January 2013

The search for good granola sometimes feels like a never-ending one, so I thought why not explore a recipe here. I can spend just about any amount of time equaling A Lot looking for recipes to try here, but when it comes to granola in particular, for some reason I’m torn over the whole process. There’s barely any worth buying on the store shelves, in my opinion, though if you have any recs, I’ll hear them out. If I let it, finding the perfect granola recipe could become an obsession.

Granola Bars (1 of 1)

I’ve tried one other granola recipe and it was OK. Honestly, my most favorite is the tiny scrap amount you get with Starbucks’ Greek yogurt and honey, but I’ve yet to try a recipe that can replicate it. Today’s doesn’t either, and it came out more regular, crumbly granola as opposed to firmer granola bars, but it’s not half bad. How’s that for a rec? Don’t mind me, I’m super picky sometimes.

Granola Bars (2 of 1)

The first step is to toast the coconut, oats and almonds on a large baking sheet. Spread it out betwen two smaller ones that will fir in your oven at the same time if necessary.

Granola Bars (3 of 1)

The binder is a melted mixture of butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla and salt.

Granola Bars (5 of 1)

Thoroughly mix the melted honey mixture with the toasted ingredients. It’ sticky, stiffly-stirred work, but someone’s gotta do it if they want granola!

Granola Bars (6 of 1)

Time to add in the dried fruit. We used blueberries, cranberries and apricots, but you can switch that up however you want. Dried cherries would be good, too, or even just some garden variety raisins.

Granola Bars (7 of 1)

Dampen your hands with a little water – sis blogging partner said this worked really well – and press the mixture as firmly and evenly into the pan as possible. Smoosh, we say – SMOOOSH!

Granola Bars (8 of 1)

Your granola is done when it’s a beautiful, golden brown color. Like thiiiiis!

Granola Bars (9 of 1)

Here we have further proof that I can’t cut food evenly to save even my kidlet’s life. Also, this stuff was almost hard to cut. The oats and nuts and honey stuff joined forces to make a fairly impenetrable outer wall. I even had hubby sharpen our knife prior and it was still like trying to cut through some kind of flexible plastic. So weird. But the good news is it tastes nothing like plastic. The not-so-great part is it did want to crumble very easily, hence our assertion later that this recipe might serve you better over some yogurt, which I’m all for.

Granola Bars (15 of 4)

If you’re in the giving mood, wrap a couple of bars in some parchment paper and tie with a little raffia or twine for a cute presentation. The paper and raffia will help hold the granola together at the very least until the recipient can take a taste.

As far as tasting goes, lots of reviews on Food Network stated these were pretty sweet, but I didn’t get an overwhelmingly sweet taste at all. In fact, I’m of a mind to add a little more honey next time, both for taste and in hopes of it binding a little more. An alternative way to bake would be to just line a baking sheet with parchment paper, spread the granola out, letting the natural clumps stay clumped, and baking it loosely. Just watch it in the oven because it may not need as long to bake since it’s not pressed into a baking pan. I liked the flavor of this granola just fine and really enjoy it over yogurt. The search for granola recipes continues, but this one is a good one on the road to Yumville.

Homemade Granola Bars

by Ina Garten via Food Network

Prep Time: 25 minutes    Cook Time: 40 minutes    Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes     Level: Easy    Serves: 4-6

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.

Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries and stir well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.

Notes:

The time to make this seems long, but most of it is down time, time you’re waiting for things to bake or cool. Ours took right at about two hours to cool enough to remove from the pan. Run a butter knife around the edges to loosen, flip it over onto a cutting board and wait to hear if it releases. Ours did right away. Tap a little on the pan to help loosen if necessary.

Other good uses if yours crumbles would be to put it in a yummy parfait.

Author

- who has written 334 posts on Full Fork Ahead.

Wife, mom, indulgent reader and book blogger, who occasionally likes to think she can cook. Sometimes she's right, sometimes she's wrong.

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