Thursday, September 17, 2009

granola bars.

spotted these on smitten kitchen today... yummy. i think i will give these a try for an after school snack.

Granola Bars
Adapted from Ina Garten

from smitten kitchen

"I started with Ina Garten’s recipe but hacked it a bit. First, I decreased the sugar because, as I mentioned, I find most granola bars excessively sweet. Think you’ll miss it? Stir in the 1/4 cup brown sugar I took out. I also removed the tablespoons of butter, as I’m convinced that the oil component in most homemade granola recipes prohibits clumping. Of course I have yet to do a side-by-side test of this theory — this is the Smitten Kitchen, not America’s Test Kitchen! — so if you think you’ll miss the butter, stir in three tablespoons, melted.

Finally, if you’re going to be a houseguest this holiday weekend — can I come, too? — I think these would make a spectacular hostess gift. Or, you know, something to tide you over until the rest of the house rouses for a late breakfast."

Makes 12 to 16 granola bars

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed (I used unsweetened)
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
2/3 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cup dried fruit, or a mix of dried fruit (I used chopped apricots, cranberries and raisins)

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter an 8×12-inch baking dish (lacking this, I used a 9×13-inch) 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°F.

While the mixture is still warm, stir in the honey, vanilla and salt until the mixture is well coated, then the dried fruit. Pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish and press, press, press it in (wet fingers and/or a silicon spatula work great for this) until the mixture is packed as tightly as possible.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares — your best serrated knife is great for this.

You can store these in an airtight container at room temperature for a week or two, as you would cookies, however, I prefer to store mine in the freezer. I find that they stay the most crisp this way as all granola tends to soften at room temperature after a day or more.

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