Friday, March 6, 2009

Homemade Granola Bars

I've been eating a fair share of Fiber One bars lately. As a new mom, it's been hard at times to have time to make an actual meal while I'm home alone. We loaded up on granola bars when Daniel was born, and I still eat a few eat day. When I found this recipe, I had to try it out. My first attempt didn't turn out so well. I used some frozen blueberries left over from Mom's visit, but it made the whole thing too watery so I'll try again following the directions and using mixed fruit. I still like the potential of it. And I add brewer's yeast to make them lactation-friendly!

I found this recipe online. Click here to see step-by-step pictures.

§  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Gather your ingredients:
  • 2 cups oats
  • 3/4 cup wheat germ
  • 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup peanuts, crushed
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • approximately 8 oz. dried fruit
3. To crush your peanuts, put them in a plastic bag and smash them with a heavy mallet, measuring cup, or sauce pan.

4. Then, mix the peanuts, oats, wheat germ, and sunflower seeds in a baking dish with sides. Toast them in the oven for 10-12 minutes, stirring every few minutes so that they don’t get burned.

5. Meanwhile, prepare a glass baking dish (about 11 x 13 inches) for your granola by lining it with waxed paper lightly sprayed with a nonstick spray.

6. Put the brown sugar, honey, butter, vanilla, and salt into a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. (I forgot to take a picture of this step, but it looks so pretty!)

7. By now, your grains and nuts should be toasted, so mix everything together in a large bowl. The grains, the liquid “glue,” and the dried fruit. Oh, and turn off your oven, because you’re finished with it now.

8. Mix everything REALLY WELL because you want to make sure the “glue” gets all over everything. Now, dump your granola mixture into your prepared baking dish.

9. Spread out the mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula.

10. Now fold over the sides of the waxed paper or add a sheet on top, and PRESS HARD all over the granola. You want to compact it together so that your bars won’t fall apart when you cut them.

11.  Wait 2-3 hours or until the granola has totally cooled.

12. Then, open the waxed paper …And carefully turn the granola onto a large cutting board, peeling away the rest of the paper.

13. Now, firmly pressing down with a big knife (not sawing), cut your granola into whatever size bars you’d like. I wrapped ours individually in plastic wrap, so that we could just throw one into our bag or lunch box in the morning. If you’d like to save on packaging though, you can store yours in an airtight container, between sheets of waxed paper (so they don’t stick together).

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