~Pablo Picasso

Monday, April 26, 2010

Chewy Granola Bars

Our usual natural chewy granola bars that are peanut free are no longer an option. Almost $5.00 a box! No way will I pay that. I surfed the web and found a recipe....they are actually really good. A little sweet but I think that can be adjusted. I added chocolate chips so that may be why. I fooled around with it to make it work for us and they are yummy. I deleted the peanuts because I have a son with a peanut allergy....and added crushed cheerios instead for a filler then I used less wheat germ and added ground flaxseed. Next time I think I will delete the chocolate chips and add dried cranberries.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2 cups oats
3/4 cup wheat germ (I used 1/2 cup wheat germ and 1/4 cup flaxseed)
1 cup nuts, crushed (I omited the nuts and used cheerios.)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
4 tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Kosher salt or regular salt
approx. 8 oz. dried fruit (optional)
chocolate chips (optional)
sunflower seeds (optional)
dried cranberries (optional)

To crush the nuts (cheerios in our case), put them in a zip lock bag and smash them with a heavy mallet, measuring cup or sauce pan.
Then, mix the crushed nuts (or whatever you want to use), oats, wheat germ/flaxseed, and sunflower seeds (if you use them, I didn't) in a baking dish with sides. Toast them in the oven for 10-12 minutes stirring every few minutes so that they don't get burned.

Meanwhile, prepare a glass baking dish (about 11x13 inches) for your granola by lining it with waxed paper lightly sprayed with a nonstick spray. (Tip: if you don't have wax paper you can used a cereal box liner opened up. I use these and they work just as well)
Put the brown sugar, honey, butter, vanilla, and salt into a saucepan and bring to a simmer stirring constantly.

By now your grains and nuts should be toasted. Mix everything together in a large bowl. The grains, the honey & brown sugar mixture, and the dried fruit. Turn off the oven, you are finished with it now.

Mix everything together really well. You want to make sure the honey & brown sugar mixture gets all over everything. Now dump your granola mixture into your prepared baking dish.

Spread out the mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Fold over the sides of the waxed paper or add a sheet on top and press hard all over the granola. You want it compacted so that the bars stay together and don't fall apart when you cut them.

Wait 2-3 hours or until the granola has fully cooled. Other variations can include adding nut butters ( I added some soy nut butter to ours), chocolate chips (I decided to add the chocolate chips after they completely cooled and just pushed them in various places instead. Otherwise, the chocolate chips will melt all over the granola. They are still good that way too), mini marshmellows, cranberries, and any other dried fruit.

These are really adjustable...you can add and take away anywhere to make them work for you and your family:)

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