Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Chewy Cranberry Almond Granola Bars


This has been such a winning recipe, I've had trouble keeping them in "stock".  I actually tend to do half batches of these yummy, chewy bars because I can try different fruit/nut combos more often that way, but my family would be perfectly happy with a full batch of the cranberry almond once a week or more often.  They hold very well, covered at room temperature.  I really like to use the extra thick cut rolled oats that Bob's Red Mill produces because we like our oats to have a whole lot of oomph.  They really hold up well to soaking too if that is something you like to do with your oats.  I would only try to serve that to my kids with the thick oats.  We do not hold with mushy oats in this family.  Sooner or later though, I must get them to like farina.  It's still one of my favs and I never get to have it.  C'mon, who out there likes lumpy cream of wheat?  Me, I do!  I'll take it smooth or lumpy, but there is something comforting about those little lumps.  At any rate, I would stick to old fashioned oats for the granola bar, otherwise you'd just be making a cookie in bar form.  Plus, quick oats have very little nutrition left in them as far as I'm concerned.  (Again, we don't do mush.)  If you look at the difference in texture between that first picture and the next one, that's all a product of how long you cook the butter and honey together.  The longer you cook it, the better adhesion you get for the oats.  (To a point.)  That top one was my first batch and while seriously tasty, was just a bit crumbly.  You can see on this batch that the bars are holding together very nicely.


The recipe may be halved for an 8x8" pan.  Since these are baked, feel free to use a cheaper honey to ease up on the food budget.  Save expensive raw honey for no-bake applications.  And compare this ingredient list to those storebought granola bars sometime.  Which would you rather feed your family?  ☺

Chewy Cranberry Almond Granola Bars

4½ cups rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup honey
1 cup almonds, sprouted, crispy or toasted
1 cup dried cranberries

Mix together the oats, flour and soda in a bowl and set aside.  Melt the butter, honey and vanilla in a large saucepan over low heat and cook and stir for about 5 minutes.  When it is quite bubbly and completely incorporated with a somewhat thick syrupy consistency, it will bind the oats well.  Just don't turn it into hard candy.  ☺  If your saucepan is large enough, mix in the oat flour mixture until well combined, and then the cranberries and almonds.  Otherwise do it in a bowl.  Turn the mixture into a buttered 9x13" pan and press down well with buttered hands or a sheet of buttered waxed paper.  Bake in a 325º oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.  I like them on the 15 minute side.  They will be nice and moist.  Let cool before cutting with a sharp knife.  They will store at room temperature for at least a week; probably twice that, though I highly doubt they will last that long.  Or you can put them in the freezer and take them out for breakfasts or snacks as needed. 

I LOVE being able to have something on hand that my hubby will take out the door with him for breakfast.  (Which he normally skips.)  And the girls love them for between meal snacks.  I like them since they are wonderfully filling.  (Bonus - no refined sugar!)  I cut the 8x8" pan into 16 servings.  Another variation I was thinking of trying is blueberry pecan, but I might cut back on the honey by ¼ cup on that one since the blueberries are so sweet.  Next up with this recipe is trying the unbaked version with no soda because it is bloody hot here right now!  No turning on the oven when it is 95º out.

Adapted from Katie at Kitchen Stewardship  - check out her healthy snacks to go ebook!

4 comments:

Mary said...

These really look wonderful. I've not made anything like them but I think it's time I should. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

hobby baker said...

They are quite tasty. I just made a trip to visit family and brought three different varieties: the cranberry almond, some blueberry pecan (less honey, touch of maple syrup) and some peanut butter chocolate chip (PB in place of ½ the butter and some mini choc chips). That PB one is very dangerous, I probably shouldn't make it very often, it will disappear way too fast! ☺ I hope you do try them out.

Elle said...

My hubbw would love these.

hobby baker said...

@ Elle - Mine does ☺; I'm just thrilled to have something my regular breakfast skipper will eat in the mornings!

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