13 July 2010
Chock full of goodness
A while back, I found a great recipe for chewy granola bars on the blog of a fellow Michigan Lady Food Blogger. I’ve made a few modifications and am now satisfied with my tweaks, so I am posting this for posterity.
Megan’s post shows the results cut into actual granola bar looking objects. I remember doing the math to figure out what size I’d have to cut them to yield 36 bars from two 9×13 pans – except one of my pans is more like 7.5×11, and the first batch was kind of crumbly (I guess I overcooked them!) so they fell apart and I had lots of crumbs. So much for perfect looking granola bars! Now I just cut them into cookie shaped squares (maybe 2×2?) and then end up eating way more at one time than a bar equivalent. They’re just too tasty to stop – and hey, they’re chock full of goodness, so healthy, right? I’m afraid to do a nutritional analysis, so I will stay deluded and happy on that point.
Note that this recipe makes A LOT – the ingredients just barely fit in our vintage Kitchenaid mixer and it bakes in two 9×13 pans! These have lasted fine in a rubbermaid container on the counter for over a week at our house (although they’d never last that long if the boys ate any!). Megan freezes hers. But if you don’t want that volume of tasty treats in your house, you could easily cut the recipe in half.
The first time I made the recipe, I substituted sunflower butter for the peanut butter (I won’t bog this down with all the reasons). Since my children don’t really like these (which doesn’t entirely make sense, given that they like all the component parts!), those allergy considerations don’t really apply. But since I like them this way, I’ll keep it up. (And drat, while typing this I realized that I forgot to restock my sunflower butter while at Trader Joe’s tonight.) Feel free to substitute other dried fruits if you don’t have easy access to dried cherries! This is a recipe that lends itself to substitutions, additions, and tweaks.
Sunny Granola Bar Cookies
3/4 to 1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup sunflower butter
3/4 cup corn syrup
3/4 cup butter, melted (10 Tablespoons works, 8 Tab [1 stick] might be too little)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
4.5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cups dried cherries, chopped
3/4 cup sunflower kernels (salted or unsalted or a mix – your preference)
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two 13-by-9 inch baking pans.
In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, sunflower butter, corn syrup, butter, and vanilla. Combine the remaining ingredients; add to goopy mixture and stir to coat. Press into the baking pans. Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown (25 minutes is perfect in my oven). Don’t over bake, or you have crunchy granola bars instead of chewy! When they come out of the oven, run a knife around the edges to loosen them from the pan a little. Cool on wire racks. Cut into whatever shape you prefer, and expect to have a lot.
One more note: the recipe calls for corn syrup. Some people are turned off to that ingredient, maybe because they think corn syrup ala Karo is the same as high fructose corn syrup that is used so freely in american processed foods. As far as I’ve been able to tell, it’s not the same thing (HFCS is way more processed, although even grocery store corn syrup is not just corn that’s been squeezed and cooked down). But hey, if you’re squeamish about using it, you can substitute there as well. I’m pretty sure some kind of liquid sweetener is in order, if you want the final result to be soft rather than crispy / crunchy / hard.