21 Sep, 2011
Testing out a new granola bar recipe: this time they’re soft and chewy
Posted by andrea tomkins in: Recipes and Food
The last time I tried a new recipe for homemade granola bars it became an instant household hit. I’m happy to report that I have found ANOTHER great recipe, this time it’s for a jam-filled granola bar that happens to be softer and chewier, something that’s akin to Nutigrain bars**… but not quite the same. They’re better.
The original recipe comes via Chasing Tomatoes. I’m a big fan of Karen’s cookery so I knew it was going to be good. Unfortunately our children’s schools are total nut-free zones, and her recipe called for nuts, so I had to make a major change and bulk it up elsewhere. I also used a bit less sugar, ’cause that’s the kind of mom I am. :)
Here’s the thing with homemade granola bars. You can make them as organic or healthy as you want. Add flax! (No one needs to know.) And wheat germ! Or bran! Or chocolate chips! It’s the WILD WEST and as far as I’m concerned, anything goes here in granola land. The most important thing to me is that I know exactly what’s in them. And I can pronounce all the ingredients. And there’s nothing mysterious about any of it.
For the record, here’s my version:
Multigrain berry breakfast bar
3/4 cup unbleached flour
3/4 Robin Hood Multigrain flour
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup sweetened desiccated coconut
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
a dozen or so dried turkish apricots, chopped (optional)
your choice of jam (er, the better part of a small bottle)*
*Sidebar: After spending a lot of time reading all the labels in the jam section of the grocery store (all the while holding a can of blueberry pie filling… it could have worked, right?) I finally decided upon Smucker’s Simple Blends Berry Jam. I’m not being paid for this endorsement, it was honestly the best looking jam in the bunch and it did not contain any corn syrup or high-fructose corn syrup a.k.a. glucose-fructose. Interestingly, in terms of ingredients, there seems to be a discrepancy between the Smuckers.ca website and what’s actually printed on the label. My bottle indicates it contains “Fruits (strawberries, boysenberries), organic evaporated cane juice, concentrated white grape juice, concentrated lemon juice, pectin”).
Anyway, onward we go! There are bars to be made here.
Preheat your oven to 350F and lightly grease a 10×15 inch baking pan. Karen wrote that she likes to use parchment paper and I happened to have a lot of it (thanks for the reminder Karen!) so I lined my pan with that. PERFECT. When they were done and cooled I just lifted it them out of the pan JUST LIKE THAT.
Combine the flours, coconut, oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, butter, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl (I pulled out the largest I had). I used a wooden spoon to mix it all up but an electric mixer would have worked too. In fact, I might use my food processor next time. The goal is to create a crumbly mixture.
Remove about 1/3 of this mixture and add your apricots if you’re using them. Set aside.
Crack an egg into other bowl (the big bowl you started out with) and blend it really well. (If you don’t, your mixture won’t hold together very well.) Press it into the prepared pan and put it in the oven for about 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.
Spread your jam of choice all over the baked crust, right out to the edges. Mine was slightly uneven in spots, which created craters of jam. (Which is ok in my books.) Sprinkle the reserved oat crumble all over the surface of the newly jammed bars, covering them evenly. Press down a tiny bit, but not too much. Pop it back in the oven and bake for another 12-15 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into bars or squares.
Everyone LOVE LOVE LOVED these and are already begging for more. I wrapped up half and popped them into the freezer. (I like to put them into lunches. They defrost by lunchtime!)
Funnily enough Mark said they tasted like date squares. They do have the same kind of texture, but trust me when I say there are no dates in this one.
p.s. I just noticed that Canadian Living also has a version I might try!
Let me know if you give this recipe a go! I’d love to hear how it worked out for you.
** ever wonder what’s in a Nutrigrain bar? Wonder no more!
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