Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Chewy Granola Bars

I have a friend who's daughter has many many food allergies. She had said she would love to try my granola and then mentioned that her daughter loves granola bars. So... I decided to try my hand at granola bars. Personally, I like the chewy granola bars over crunchy. 

Whenever I try something, I check out a whole bunch of recipes, and then tweak it into what I want to make. One thing I have learned from reading recipes on line, is to read the comments!  I have found soooo many recipes where people comment saying that it is an AMAZING recipe.. but they changed this, this, this and that.  I have literally found a few comments where they changed every single ingredient!  .... ... ... 

Anyway, I decided I would just come up with my own recipe and see how it goes. 

First consideration for this particular recipe is that it doesn't have any nuts, corn (including corn syrup), egg, or coconut. Then, I wanted to keep it wheat gluten free.. so no wheat flour.  And of course I want to keep the refined sugar down. 

So.. here is what I came up with:

  • 4 cups Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1 cup Oat Flour (just grind some oats.. I have a mill.. but you can use a food processor or coffee grinder)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (I used freshly grated cause I'm all about cinnamon)
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup apple sauce
  • 1 cup honey
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 325°
Use a 9x13 pan. I line it with parchment (cause parchment ROCKS) but you can either line it with aluminum foil that you then grease, or just grease the pan. But.. lining it is helpful because you can remove the entire pan of bars in order to slice them easier. 

Mix oats, oat flour, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large bowl.

Melt butter, applesauce, honey and brown sugar in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir, stir, stir until it JUST starts to bubble, then remove from heat and add in vanilla. 

Pour wet mixture over dry and mix it up really well. Let it sit for 5 or 10 minutes to let it really soak into the oats. If you use quick oats you may not need to do this. 

Fold in any add-ins you would like, dried fruits, nuts, chocolate chips etc. I  took some chocolate I had made and just put it on top of half of the tray to see how that would work. 

Press FIRMLY (when I say firmly I mean STUFF IT IN!) into lined pan. If it isn't packed down well, the bars will end up being crumbly. I take another piece of parchment and put it over then push down with something flat and wide.. or even another pan. (I read one review where a woman took another cookie sheet and STOOD on it.... ... ..yeah that's not gonna happen here)

Anyway.. bake for 18-20 minutes (or until it turns golden brown) You can take it out half way and press again if you like.

I smished it again after I took it out cause it seemed to have fluffed a lot. And then I actually kept smishing as it cooled. 

Let it cool about 10 minutes and cut, then let it cool completely. 

They are nice and chewy! Not crumbly at all!  In fact they are a good consistency that can be shaped a bit. So you can wrap them up in wax paper or something and send it off in a lunch box :)

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