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I am a wife, mother, teacher, runner, baker, fund-raiser, reader, watcher of movies, dog-lover, writer, music-lover and foodie. So - I'm a woman of many moods! I write and share in order to teach and enrich. I currently have two blogs going: The Kitchen Refugee, and A Mile At A Time. The first is about time spent in the kitchen and the second about time spent on the road. Frequently the two roads intersect!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

I just love those chewy, nutty granola bars from the grocery store, but really don't want to pay so much for them, or their lovely, excess packaging.  I have been experimenting with granola bars, and think I've finally gotten the recipe just right.

As always, when monkeying with a new recipe, I start with a base recipe that seems to work well.  I want to make sure my ratio of wet to dry ingredients remains the same, and that substitutions I make won't ruin the whole thing.

My base recipe for granola bars comes from Food Network Chef, Alton Brown.

His Recipe reads as follows:
• 8 oz old-fashioned oats - approx. 2 cups
• 1 1/2 oz. raw sunflower seeds, approx. 1/2 cup
• 3 oz sliced almonds, approx. 1 cup
• 1 1/2 oz. wheat germ, approx. 1/2 cup
• 1 3/4 oz. brown sugar, approx. 1/4 cup packed
• 1 oz. butter (1 oz. = 2 TB)
• 2 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
• 6 1/2 oz. chopped, dried fruit

Butter a 9x9 glass baking dish and prehat the oven to 350º.

Spread oats, nuts and wheat germ on a sheet pan and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a sauce pan, combine honey, brown sugar, butter, extract and salt.  Cook until the brown sugar is completely dissolved.

Once the oat mixture is toasted, reduce the oven temp to 300º.  Add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit and stir to combine.  Press this mixture into a greased baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.  Cut in squares and store in an airtight container.

Now - here's what I did:  I started by doubling the recipe!

Mrs. T.'s Peanut Butter Granola Bars
• 4 cups rolled oats
• 1 cup peanuts
• 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
• 1 cup large flake coconut
• 1 cup wheat germ
Toast oat mixture @ 350º for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

In saucepan, heat:
• 1 cup honey
• 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
• 4 TB butter (1/4 cup)
• 1/2 cup peanut butter
• 2 tsp. vanilla
• 1 tsp. salt

*Now, I realize I've added an extra 1/2 cup to the wet ingredients, but I've also added to the dry ingredients as well, so it worked out okay.  AND - I was going for CHEWY!

Mix the wet with the dry, and pour the whole mess into a 9x13 baking dish.  *I lined the dish with parchment paper, to avoid cleaning, and to make sure it all came out of the pan.  (I had a previous granola bar mishap that lead to my chiseling the mixture out of the pan!  Lesson learned.)  To press the mess into the pan in a uniform manner, I sprayed the bottom of a bread pan with Pam, and used it to push the granola mixture evenly into the pan.

Bake at 300º for about 25 minutes.

If you want crunchy granola bars, spread the mixture into a large cookie sheet, so they are thinner and easier to bake to your preferred crunchiness.  If you want them chewy, make them thicker by using a smaller pan.  This is not rocket science!  :-)

I cut my granola bars into rectangles instead of squares so they are more like the serving size you would get in a store-bought bar.  I'm really happy with how these turned out!  I think they are a little sweet for my liking, and the next time I try it, I may eliminate the brown sugar and just rely on the sweetness of the honey.

When I'm at a loss for equivalents I generally turn to the back of my dog-eared copy of A Taste of Oregon, by The Junior League of Eugene, OR. If you don't have a good reference manual at your fingertips, try
http://www.foodreference.com/html/tweightmeasure.html.  I've found it useful.

Now pour a cup of coffee and enjoy your granola bar!

1 comment:

  1. This is good stuff! I am always looking for some kind of energy boost in the middle of a teaching day.