Monday, January 25, 2010

Tasty Tuesday!

Last two days -- for anyone in the Chicago area with kids, I'm giving away a family four pack to Disney on Ice for Februay 2!


You'll be proud of me. I have pictures this week. Yep, actual honest to goodness pictures. And this has nothing to do with the fact that I made these treasures after the wee ones were in bed and not when I was racing to get food on the table. Nope, not a thing to do with it.

So. I make granola on a regular basis. I love my granola. In fact, I make it often enough that I keep two 32 ounce containers of plain yogurt (about the only way to avoid HFCS unfortunately) in the fridge to pour over my morning treat. Yum.

I've never made granola bars though. The wee ones love them, but for some uknown reason, they've always scared me. Silly, I know. But I decided to throw caution to the wind and make some for the wee ones. I modified my regular granola recipe slightly, and voila! I have granola bars. Tomorrow, I need to get a picture of the wee ones wolfing these treasures down.

Oh, and Jen, if you ask nicely, I'll make you some of these, too.

Homemade Granola Bars
3 c oats (not the quick cooking kind)
3/4 c coconut, flaked
1 c wheat bran - optional
1 c flax seeds (ground or whole, whichever is fine although I prefer whole) - optional
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg, fresh ground
1/4 c olive oil
2/3 c honey (or maybe a little bit more)
1/4 c brown sugar, scant
1 c dried fruits, variety all chopped to be about the same size

(This part is totally optional) Place the oatmeal and coconut on an ungreased baking sheet and toast at 300 degees for about 10 minutes. This adds to the flavor but totally isn't necessary if you don't have the time.

Heat a heavy small saucepan over medium heat, and add the oil and honey (hint: if you're using a liquid measuring cup, put the oil in first then the honey atop it, and it helps the honey slide out more easily). Add the brown sugar, and heat until boiling. Stir for another minute, then remove from the heat.

Put the toasted oatmeal and coconut into a large mixing bowl. Add the wheat germ and flax seed (also both optional, but they're yummy and healthy!), as well as the cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well.

Add the heated honey mixture to a well made in the center of the dry ingredients.

Stir until well mixed. This is much easier and faster than it is when making the regular granola version. Add the dried fruits and stir again. I used raisins, craisins, and cherries for my dried fruits, and they work together very nicely. You can use one kind or many, but more than about a cup total seems to make it too fruity, at least for me.

Place this into a 13x9 greased pan. I also laid a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan to help the granola come out in a single piece more easily. It worked well.

Slightly wet your hands (I figured this one out the hard way) and gently press down onto the mixture to ensure that it is flat and even. I found that I "had" to rearrange some of my fruit, as it seemed to all want to head to the edges and I wanted a more even distribution.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool overnight (or at least until totally and completely room temperature). Use a knife to loosen the sides, and then plop out the giant granola bar. Use a very sharp knife -- or in my case, as serrated knife, as I proved yet again that it's time to get my knives professionally sharpened -- to slice into the shape you desire. I made essentially 16 bars from this, but I probably could have made them a bit smaller or a different shape, and they would have worked out just fine.

And as for those little crumbs left over from the cutting? I just scooped them up into a bowl, and that was my breakfast... along with a little yogurt, of course.

And does anyone know how to remove the fingerprint Mister Man has apparently put on my camera lens? *sigh*

Enjoy recipes like this and more with Blessed With Grace and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday!


Connie January 25, 2010 at 11:41 PM  

Oh good. It's your camera lens, I thought it was my eyes!
I love granola but have never made the bars. I'll have to try it!

Alexis AKA MOM January 26, 2010 at 12:59 AM  

Wow my dear, it's so funny I just wrote down a recipe to make some of this. You know trying to be healthier ... LOL

Sounds wonderful :)

Unknown January 26, 2010 at 1:55 AM  

Oh Michelle, I was just thinking of making some bars for a change of snack foods around here. Think I found my recipe. Thanks!

Lisa@BlessedwithGrace January 26, 2010 at 11:04 AM  

Those really look great. My Gracie would love these bars.

Shynea @ Penny Pinching Diva January 26, 2010 at 12:52 PM  

I love eating granola and I have always wanted to try and make it homemade. Thank you for this recipe and tutorial. I will have to try it out next weekend.

Unknown January 26, 2010 at 2:12 PM  

I linked up to TTMT today. I really envy your cooking and baking talent.

Karen January 26, 2010 at 2:23 PM  

Yum. That looks like something I should seriously try.

Windex works great for the camera, but don't make the mistake I did - put it on a cloth and NOT directly onto the lens.

Claudya Martinez January 26, 2010 at 5:18 PM  

I've always wanted to make some homemade granola bars.

Debbie January 26, 2010 at 6:41 PM  

You probably remember that I make our granola too. Like you, I've never made the bars. I guess I always thought they would be too sticky to cut! Thanks for the encouragement.

septembermom January 27, 2010 at 11:52 AM  

You know how to make everything!! Another good one :)

Michelle February 1, 2010 at 10:25 PM  

Connie - I thought it was mine at first, too. But no... it's Mister Man's latest hobby. I'll have to post about that sometime soon.

Alexis - What, you wrote down a recipe but not mine? I'm horrified ;)

Laura - Go for it. I've remade more, and they're going like ummm hotcakes.

Lisa - I bet she would. The wee ones adore them. So tasty and easy and healthy!

Shynea - I hope it works out for you. I just can't believe it took me that long to try it out myself.

Megryansmom - Aww, thank you. You're so sweet. It's not a talent though... just something anyone can do.

Karen - Oh I can just picture that. I forgot until I was at the preschool and needing to take pictures for the newsletter, but luckily hot breath and a soft cloth worked!

Unknown Mami - Wanted to? So does this mean you've tried it now? You can do it.

Debbie - I thought so, too, but it wasn't bad at all. I tried cutting through the parchment to see if that made it easier, but it was better to just cut them directly.

Kelly - Everything? Nahhh. It's just not that hard to follow the directions. It's all about the confidence.

Angela February 13, 2010 at 2:31 PM  

Yum! I can't wait to try your granola. I've always wanted to make my own but never seem to try it. You've inspired me!

And I agree on the yogurt. I am getting to where I just really can't stand the idea of "non food" in my food. It's hard enough to eat well, do they have to make it so much harder by adding chemicals that can't be recognized by our bodies??

Michelle February 21, 2010 at 9:44 PM  

Angela - I hope you enjoyed it. It's something that intimidated me, too, but for no reason whatsoever. Go for it!

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