These thick, chewy granola bar are supposed to completely cool before cutting. I had dinner with my mom tonight and baked over at her house. Not only great company but a big, beautiful kitchen to bake in, what a treat!
I didn’t wait for them to cool completely because I wanted to leave some with her and bring the rest home. Right now they seem pretty crumbly but very delicious. They are also loaded with goodies and I think if I’d chopped the dried fruit up a bit more that might help keep them together.
OK, I just reread the recipe and realized I made a mistake. Oops. I omitted 3 tablespoons of liquid (2 T corn syrup and 1 T water – yep, that would make a difference!) Drat.
The recipe is from Smitten Kitchen, one of my favorite food blogs. Chatting with mom while baking is what kept me from being more careful with the recipe, but in the grand scheme of things, that was just fine. I will put the recipe here with ALL the ingredients in case you want to bake them as they are supposed to be. We tasted some of the bits that broke off when I cut them and mom commented on the nice peanut butter flavor. They really are good.
Thick, Chewy Granola Bars
barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen
This is billed as a flexible recipe and it is certainly simple: combine dry ingredients including nuts and dried fruit, combine liquid ingredients, mix the wet stuff into the dry stuff with the (optional) peanut butter. Press into a pan and bake. Pretty easy!
1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats (if using regular oats, which I did, pulse a few times in blender to break up some)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts (10 to 15 ounces total) – I used 3 cups with a combination of shredded coconut, prunes, dried cherries, craisins, pecans and pine nuts
1/3 cup peanut butter (optional)
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup honey, maple syrup or corn syrup (I used a combination of honey and corn syrup)
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tablespoon water
Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8-inch baking pan in one direction with parchment paper, with overhang on opposite sides. Grease the parchment paper and the uncovered part of the pan, or spray with a non-stick spray.
Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, combine, melted butter, liquid sweetener and corn syrup, the vanilla, and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry (and peanut butter, if you’re using it) until the mixture is well-combined. Dump into the prepared pan, and press quite firmly into the pan (plastic wrap or wax paper makes it easier to press the mixture down without getting sticky fingers). This is an important step, so don’t rush here. Get your mixture really pressed into the pan.
Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges and toasty looking. Err on the side of more rather than less brown.
This is where you need to be patient: let the bars cool completely IN THE PAN. This recipe has a tendency towards crumbling and warm bars will fall apart. The original recipe in Smitten Kitchen even suggests 30 minutes in the fridge and cutting them cold.
After cooling, use parchment to lift out of pan; cut into squares with a serrated knife. Since I left out some ingredients, I really don’t know how crumbly they’ll be. When I make them again (after I complete the 30 Days of Creativity), I’ll update the recipe.
May 5, 2013: Update: OK, I’ve made these bars a second time. I got the liquids right but this time I was careless with other steps! I’ve tried to clarify the importance of really pressing the mix into the pan before baking, and letting it cool (even to the point of a 30 minute chill in the fridge) before cutting. I was impatient and tried to take them out of the pan before they were completely cool. I don’t think I pressed them firmly before baking. I think I should have baked them longer. End result: still falling apart but also still delicious. I guess I’ll have to give it another go!
I can imagine this crumbled into a bowl with milk (or vanilla ice cream), and will make a great breakfast with some yogurt and fresh fruit on the side.
Last year on Day 20 I made: Aluminum Tape Tags & Charms. Charming.
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