Monday, June 14, 2010

Granola Bars

Every morning is a mad rush to get ready and out the door. I know there is not a parent on earth who has not experienced morning madness. I also have an aversion to the corn syrup laced granola bars that are very convenient but have an ingredient list that makes me cringe. I personally need an arsenal of convenient snacks to hold my little tike over until he has breakfast at daycare or while out and about. His boundless energy also turns him into a ravenous little animal who turns beastly if not fed on demand. What to do? Make them myself. As with everything else in life, they taste a million times better coming from my kitchen than they ever could coming from a box.

These are very sweet but I am convinced that the sugar holds them together well, a critical element of any kids snack. You can also play around with the ingredient list and add different nuts, dried fruits and spices according to your taste. Once these have cooled completely, I like to wrap them up individually so they are easy to grab and hand to little hands while running around like a crazy person. Posts with homemade crackers and other kid friendly snacks are in the works. Until then, enjoy the granola bars! AJ

Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics by Ina Garten


2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut, loosely packed
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.

Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries and stir well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Press the mixture evenly into the pan with the back of a rubber spatula. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.

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