November 10, 2011

Cranberry Almond Granola Bars

I am a huge fan of granola bars, but I've been disappointed by the ones you buy in the store too many times. I thought it'd be fun to try and make my own. I like chewy granola bars, so it was perfect that I found this recipe on King Arthur Flour's website.

It was nice and crispy on the edges, the best part.
The nice thing about this recipe is that you can basically add any combination of goodies that you want as long as you have 2-3 cups total. I decided that I wanted a combination of dried cranberries, almond slivers, and flaked coconut. I got some excellent dried cranberries from my local Trader Joe's. I love that place. But you could add anything you'd like, including chocolate chips, peanuts, walnuts, raisins, blueberries, mini marshmallows... the list goes on. Use whatever strikes your fancy.

King Arthur Flour has you use their Sticky Bun Sugar, but I didn't have access to any on short notice. Instead, I used the substitute recipe they provided. I had a few problems though, the first of which was that the bars never really set. I even baked them for an extra 30 minutes. This may entirely be due to the replacement of the Sticky Bun Sugar, but I'd suggest using a little less liquid.

Chewy Granola Bars

What You'll Need:
    1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats
    1 cup + 2 tablespoons Sticky Bun Sugar
    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    1/3 cup oat flour (1/3 cup quick oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor)
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/4 cup melted butter
    1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
    1 tablespoon water

The Process:

Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease your favorite 9" x 13" pan. Stir together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Toss the wet in with the dry ingredients until it is evenly distributed. It'll be crumbly.

Spread the mixture evenly into the pan and press the granola down into the pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Once it's done, loosen the edges and let cool for a few minutes. Then you can cut it into bars with a knife (I used my dough scraper, since it has a ruled edge that helped me make them even). Carefully remove the bars once they're cut and let them cool completely on a rack.

To store them, either wrap them individually or cover them with plastic. If you don't think you'll eat them all right away, they also freeze nicely.

Now that I have my shiny new food processor, making the oat flour will be a lot easier. I used my blender to make these originally and it was a pain in the butt. I have some leftover cranberries, so I might give it another try but using a little less liquid. I'll add an update if I find something that works better than this.

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