Saturday, September 26, 2009

No-bake granola bars

With husband gone on business, my morning routine fell to shambles almost immediately. Breakfast smoothie, what breakfast smoothie? That's completely UNindicative of how much I dearly adore our smoothie... but it's hard to make just for one and I really shouldn't drink the WHOLE thing.

Frankly, cereal doesn't excite me much any more. I did a couple of days of cereal and yogurt and one morning I had with oatmeal and apples. But I knew something with a bit more heft (and something yummy with my coffee) would help see me through my busy mornings. I had some almost-made granola in the freezer (all the dry ingredients mixed together) but hadn't gotten around to making it, because every time I make granola I seem to mess it up and wasn't in the mood for messed up granola. So I landed on the idea of granola bars.

Granola bars! I do love homemade ones, usually, and have a real freaky addiction to those granola chunks that Costco sells in their bakery section (which are also not so healthy...) so I thought I'd make up a pan to see me through the coming week. And maybe, just maybe, Seth would like them too...

I went straight to the Bittman, but was disappointed that his recipe called for using already-made granola and basically wetting it to make bars. Turns out a lot of online granola bar recipes start out with granola... who knew? Not for me. But luckily a few other food blogger types had figured that out and wanted a recipe that really is From Scratch, so I was able to cobble together a workable solution from a few of their successes.

I made a big-ole pan, but have scaled back the recipe to fit a 9x9 pan for normal people. I think I will be a freezin' some of mine that don't get eaten this week.

No-bake granola bars
2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup grated coconut
2/3 cup chopped nuts--I used a combination of almonds, walnuts and cashews
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup oil--I used canola
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. No, this is not for baking the granola bars. This is for toasting the dry ingredients. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Pour onto a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the toasted oat smell starts to waft through the house. Take out of the oven and let cool. Pour back into mixing bowl.

Mix the honey and oil together in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil over medium high heat. Take off the heat and stir in the peanut butter and vanilla. Pour wet mixture over the dry and mix well. Line your 9x9 pan with plastic wrap--so much easier to get the bars out later--and put the granola mixture into the pan, pressing down hard on the surface; I wet my fingers a bit as I was doing this so they wouldn't stick.

Cool for a bit, then cut into bars. Finish cooling in the refrigerator until bars are hard. Store them in a airtight containter in the fridge.

I just finished my breakfast of granola bars, a honey crisp apple and coffee. Ah, let the weekend begin!

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