I am a snacker, a big time snacker. My snack of choice is almost always something carb-y, and I am always looking for new snacks to add to my repertoire.
Lately I've been into Annie's Honey Bunny Grahams. I can eat a lot of them, they are slightly sweet, and they hit the spot during my afternoon slump.
A homemade snack always feels good goin' down, and these homemade granola bars are full of golden raisins, walnuts, pecans, sour cherries, dates, peanut butter, wheat germ, and a few chocolate chips. They are indeed thick and chewy and they sort of fall apart in this wonderful way.
Next time, however, I would definitely chop up my fruit/nut mix a bit and I would use quick-cooking oats or process my old-fashioned oats in a blender for a few pulses. This would probably make the bars hold together more cohesively.
I highly recommend scavenging through the bulk section at your grocery store. I can find all sorts of grains and nuts and goodies in the bulk section, and I can take as much as I need. I had never made anything with wheat germ before and voila, these bars have wheat germ! Expect some more wheat germ recipes in the near future (oh, and store your wheat germ in the refrigerator please and thank you).
A homemade granola bar is a great post-workout snack, a great on-the-go breakfast item, and a great afternoon pick-me-up. Eat up!
Homemade Granola Bars
Thank you, again SmittenKitchen
1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats (if gluten-free, be sure to use gluten-free oats, if using old-fashioned oats, give them a quick pulse in the blender/processor to break them up a bit)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts (total of 10 to 15 ounces)*
1/3 cup peanut butter or another nut butter (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup honey, maple syrup or corn syrup
1 tablespoon water
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. Lightly grease the parchment paper and the exposed pan, or coat with a non-stick spray.
Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter or oil, liquid sweeteners, water, and peanut butter. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan.
Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges — don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops too. They’ll still seem soft and almost underbaked when you press into the center of the pan but do not worry, they’ll set completely once completely cool.
Cool the bars in their pan completely on a cooling rack. (Alternately, after about 20 minutes you can use your parchment “sling” to lift and remove the bars, and place them in their paper on the rack to cool the rest of the way. This can speed the process up.)
Once cool, a serrated knife (or bench knife) to cut the bars into squares. ***If bars seem crumbly, chill the pan of them further in the fridge for 30 minutes which will fully set the “glue”, then cut them cold. To store, wrap the bars individually in plastic or stack them in an airtight container. In humid weather, it’s best to store bars in the refrigerator. They also freeze well.
*Suggestions: Dried cranberries, apricots, pecans, sunflower seeds, coconut, walnuts, sesame seeds, pepitas, dried apples or even chocolate chips. My mix: 1/2 cup wheat germ, 1/2 cup dried cherries, 1/2 cup golden raisins, 1 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup pecans, 4 dates chopped, and 1/4 cup chocolate chips. I recommend pulsing your mixture in the food processor a few times to break it up a little, though this isn’t necessary if you don’t mind yours chunkier.