Not Granola Bars

Inspired by smitten kitchen (via King Arthur Flour)

I came across this recipe for “thicky, chewy granola bars” complete with the beautiful photos found with any smitten kitchen recipe. I have control issues with a few foods and granola is one of them. I tried the recipe, but adamantly refused to add the 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup. I also substituted canola oil for butter. The result? Delicious, chewy granola crumbles. They didn’t stick together as any good bar should. Alas, what you have is then a lovely granola cereal that can be eaten alone, with milk, over yogurt as a part of a parfait with fruit…I wasn’t nearly as upset once I tasted a chunky crumb of the mess. Mmmmm.

  • 1-1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar (see tips)
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups chopped dried fruits
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 tablepoons canola oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment letting some hang over each side. Spray the pan and the parchment liberally with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, salt, cinnamon, dried fruit and nuts. Mix and set aside. In another bowl, combine the vanilla extract, canola oil, maple syrup, honey and water. Whisk until well blended. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, then add the almond butter. Stir until the mixture looks even.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, pressing down gently with the back of a spoon to ensure that the granola takes the form of the pan. This step probably isn’t important since you already know these aren’t going to stick together and make bars. But I didn’t know that when I made them so I diligently pressed all the little edges in and made the top very even. Sigh.
  • Bake the granola for 30 minutes. The top will be brown. Set the pan on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
  • Because I have very little self control, I attempted to cut the “bars” way sooner than was a good idea. Maybe that’s why they didn’t hold together? If you want to try to cut them when they are completely cool, good luck. Let me know if they stuck. Otherwise, just gently break up the granola and place it into an airtight container. You can either keep the granola in the refrigerator or freeze it and use it as you need it.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. I found this granola to be a little sweeter than I typically like. There are three types of sugars in this recipe! Sheesh. I used 2/3 cup brown sugar, but I believe you’d get a better result if you cut that back to 1/3 cup. The maple syrup and honey give it plenty of sweetness. If you like the sweetness found in store-bought granola, you will want to use the larger quantity.
  • 2. I used a combination of 1 cup mixed dried fruit bits and 1 cup dried tart cherries. For the nuts, I used 1/2 cup sliced almonds and 1/2 cup walnuts. Experiment as you wish. Next time, I might try apricots, pecans, coconut or dried apples.
  • 3. If you would really like to try bars, use 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup in place of the honey. You can also consider substituting honey for the maple syrup in the line above. That may give you a stickier result that would actually hold the form of a bar.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

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