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.
- 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.