Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Homemade Granola Bars

Ryan and I are big snack-eaters and we go through a lot of granola bars - the problem is that I don't really like most granola bars and Ryan is bored with the selection available at grocery stores. I eat them though because they're conveniently packaged and easy to eat without making a mess (easier than say, eating an orange or banana on the bus or on a plane). So we decided it was time to try something new: make our own granola bars! I also thought we could make something healthier than what you can get at Safeway. I did some googling, and the recipe I decided to go with came from the Joyful Abode blog (check out the link to see her beautiful pictures). It seemed like a relatively simple recipe without too many ingredients and no high fructose corn syrup.

They turned out awesome! I had to restrain myself from eating them all the night we made them. They were pretty easy to make too, although I have to admit that Ryan did most of the work as I was on the phone with my cousin who just defended her master's thesis (Congrats Ann Marie!).

These are the granola bars we made, almost identical to the one's posted on Joyful Abode, but there are certainly many delicious possible variations:

Preheat oven to 400F

2 cups oats
3/4 cup sesame seeds
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup crushed peanuts (unsalted)
1/2 cup crushed cashews (lightly salted)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
4 Tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz. craisins, dried apples, dried apricots

Mix the oats, nuts, sunflower and sesame seeds in a baking dish with sides and toast in oven for 10-12 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

Prepare a baking dish lined with waxed paper and lightly sprayed with nonstick spray.

Put the brown sugar, honey, butter, salt, and vanilla in a sauce pan and bring to simmer, stirring constantly.

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, making sure the honey mixture coats everything.

Put the granola mix into the wax paper-lined baking dish and spread the mixture out. Put another piece of waxed paper over the top and press the granola down as hard as you can - you really want it packed in there so it doesn't end up crumbly. Let it sit 2-3 hours until completely cooled.

Carefully turn the baking dish over onto a cutting board so the slab of granola comes out. Peel away the waxed paper and cut the granola into bars. Wrap individually or store together in a container. Warning, they do come out a little sticky, but they are delicious!

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