Best. Granola Bars. Ever.

I’d been looking for something quick, easy, and not too unhealthy that my husband could have for breakfast before work in the morning. Preferably something he could just grab & go. Granola bars are great in theory, but most of them have waay too much sugar. And there are few enough that are really good that they can get tiring after a while. I kept telling myself I’d get around to making granola bars so I could adapt them as desired, but, well, lameness, tiredness from medication side effects, etc.

I also discovered the recipe site (and iPad app) Big Oven this Spring. Good stuff—tons of recipes, and plenty of feedback on them, so you have some idea which ones actually worked out well for users. And there tend to be lots of different recipes for the same items, so you can pick the one that suits your tastes best.

Which brings us to the Anytime Granola Bars. Go ahead—click through and drool. The recipe has directions for making these as either soft or crunchy granola bars; they make AMAZING crunchy ones, as well as granola cereal. You can see that the ingredients are more on the healthy side than many granola bars, but they don’t taste it at all. The bars are a bit sweet, but not nearly as candy-like as storebought. I made a few minor changes to the ingredients from the original recipe, and some ideas for variations follow.

  • 2 cups Rolled Oats
  • 1/4 cup Brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Wheat germ
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 cup Whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3/4 cup Raisins (preferably golden raisins or currants)
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1 T Vanilla

Mix dry ingredients together. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix. Press into parchment-lined jelly roll pan or sheet pan with sides. Cut, bake until edges start turning golden (and the bars smell awesome!), cut again. When cool, store in airtight container.

Tip: measure the oil and honey in the same measuring cup, and measure the oil first. That way, the honey slides right out with no mess, no fuss.

I misread the recipe when I first made this and baked these at 375 F, which is high. They only took about 15 minutes and were dead-on perfect. I’m still going to try doing them at the suggested temp from the recipe next time, and of course time will depend somewhat on how thin you press them. The suggestion to cut the bars before baking was absolutely fantastic and really helped.

If the mix seems too dry, try adding a very small amount of extra oil at a time (my first batch was a bit crumbly, although thanks to the egg the bars stuck together much better than I expected).

I’m looking forward to substituting shelled sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds for part of the raisins, or just adding them in. Also I plan to try finely chopped nuts of various types. Dried, sweetened cranberries should make an awesome alternative to raisins. Same with dried blueberries, and maybe even dried pineapple, although I might want to cut the sugar a little when using that, and I’d probably do half dried pineapple and half finely chopped macadamia nuts. Also I think it would be interesting to substitute ground, toasted flaxseed for some of the wheatgerm. I want to discover the differences that melted coconut oil or butter would make in place of the oil, just as an experiment. I also want to see what maple syrup or agave nectar would do instead of honey—which will definitely require some experimentation, since the consistencies are different.

By the way, the almond honey from The Bee Folks is PERFECT for this application. I found it a bit overwhelming in flavor for tea or similar tasks, but it adds just the right note to granola bars!

 

Anytime Granola Bars

 

Variation One: Double-Ginger Hazelnut Bars

  • 2 cups Rolled Oats
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup Wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup flax meal (ground flax seed, toasted or untoasted)
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 t ground Ginger
  • 1 cup Whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup blanched hazelnuts, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup Agave nectar
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1 T Vanilla

Variation Two: Cranberry Sunflower Bars

At first bite you’ll think you left part of the sugar out of the recipe. Then the various flavors will magically blend together, and the taste becomes PERFECT.

  • 2 cups Rolled Oats
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/8 cup (6 T) Wheat germ
  • 2 T flax meal (ground flax seed, toasted or untoasted)
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup Whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup roasted, salted (shelled) sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1 T Vanilla

 

 

In site news, Rene and I have been crankin’ out the reviews now that we’re starting to feel better. Her latest fantasy review is of S. Andrew Swann’s Dragons and Dwarves, her most recent paranormal romance review is of So Still the Night by Kim Lenox, her latest review of a contemporary romance explores Love is a Four-Legged Word, and her most recent historical romance review is of Lauren Willig’s The Seduction of the Crimson Rose.

For my own reviews, I’ve covered books as diverse as Walter Greatshell’s Xombies: Apocalypse Blues, J.R. Ward’s An Unforgettable Lady, Leslie Parrish’s latest rom suspense Cold Sight, Nora Roberts’s upcoming The Search, and Shiloh Walker’s Broken, as well as cookbooks such as Chocolate Cakes and Whoopie Pies.

Enjoy!

Posted in Cooking Tagged with: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Stuff for Gamers

Take a look at the shirts-n-things in our stuff for gamers store.

Archives