Food for Fridays — Homemade Granola Bars
I thought that maybe we could continue our chat about lunch from last week. One of my other food goals for this year is to increase the number of things that I make instead of buy. When I stumbled across a recipe for homemade granola bars I wanted to give it a try.
So, it was Saturday night and I decided to sit down and whip up a batch of granola bars for you. Wait, what? Don’t you do your baking on Saturday night after the kids are in bed? Notice the waning light in my photographs? I’d even been invited to a party at a condo of a younger friend of mine and none of the other people going to that party had kids. There would have been all kinds of crazy dancing, and did I mention – no kids! Instead, I opted to stay home and bake granola bars. Ok.. well, I was also recovering from a bit of the flu.
The recipe I used is from Smitten Kitchen, one of my online favorites, and this particular granola bar recipe came highly recommended. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint. Eating these almost makes up for missing the party.
The recipe has a lot of flexibility in it, as you can see. I used a mixture of roasted cashews, dried cherries, dried cranberries, and roasted sunflower seeds for the dried fruits and nuts. I used about 2 1/2 cups at a ratio of about 0.5 parts sunflower seeds, 1 part dried cherries, 1 part dried cranberries, and 2 parts cashews. I used the peanut butter in mine but if you want your kids to take them to school, you should substitute apple butter or some other school-safe butter. I omitted the vanilla and used only honey in the optional sweeteners.
When I eat store-bought granola bars, I typically find them way too sweet. I used the lowest recommended amount of sugar (1/2 cup) but I think I may cut back on the liquid sweeteners next time too, the dried fruits are already sweet enough for me.
The only other thing I should comment on is the cooking time. It was Saturday night, remember? Kids were in bed. I put the bars in the oven, set the timer for 32 minutes (recommendation is 30-40 and I’m a really good guesser about my oven). Now Smitten Kitchen suggests not being afraid to let the bars get a little bit of colour. But, you see, I went upstairs to watch the latest episode of Breaking Bad with my hubby and it was some time later when we realized that there was a very faint beeping noise coming from .. somewhere. Some time after that it occurred to us that the timer for the granola bars is what was beeping. Sheesh! So, umm, yeah. They’re a little dark. Turns out that this really isn’t a bad thing but it turns out that a little bit dark just means a deep caramel flavour and a little extra crunch. Hubby requests that I still to the prescribed baking time for our next attempt, though.
Alright, just one last comment. Folks were noticing that these bars are really crumbly. I’ll second (100th?) that comment as well. I put the bars in the fridge before I cut them, but you can see in that last photo that there was still some crumbling. I did not worry about the crumbling. I put the granola bits on my ice cream later in the week. Hubby and the girls aren’t allowed to eat the granola bars in the living room, however.
Ok. So try them. They’re so yummy and chewy and satisfying. The next batch I make might be nut free so that I can share them with our littlest peanut. Then, go put them in your kids’ lunch boxes. Hopefully, they’ll enjoy them as much as we do. And hopefully they won’t complain, like my pre-schooler did, that they don’t come with wrappers.