Thursday, April 22, 2010

Granola Bars

Here's my latest favorite snack.  I adapted this recipe based on one a friend gave me.  For my family, this is a delicious, guilt free, healthy snack.  I like them as much as cookies.  The recipe is very flexible.  Experiment with the ingredients and come up with your own version.  My recipe is doubled - divide in half if you want less or your mixer is on the smaller end.

9 c rolled oats
3 c whole wheat flour
2 t baking soda
2 t vanilla
1 c chopped pecans
2 c craisins
1 bag of organic chocolate  chips

1.5 c melted butter
2-4 c liquid sweetener (I use honey and maple syrup)

1.  Mix all the dry ingredients.
2.  While mixing on low, slowly add melted butter.
3. While mixing on low add liquid sweetener until mixture starts to come together--not one big ball but enough so that you can press it together.  Experiment with this and you'll find the texture that works best.  
4.  Press into a large jelly roll or bar pan. 
5. Bake at 325 for 20 minutes
6.  Cut into bars.  Keeps well in an airtight container - but it won't last more than a couple days if your family likes it as much as mine does.

It would be good crumbled in a bowl like cereal with milk over it.  I'd love to hear other people's versions of this.  So many flavor possibilities....I want to experiment with ripe bananas and coconut butter.


Jill and Dane said...

These are amazing! I like them best hot. Dane and I both loved them just as much as some of our fav. yummy treats

Michael Family said...

Sounds good! Thanks for posting, I want to try them. But just FYI, it is not guilt-free if it has 1 1/2 c butter and 2 c sweetener!

Jennifer said...

Thanks Marissa. I do disagree though. From my study of nutrition I've concluded that organic butter and natural, organic sweeteners like honey and maple syrup are guilt free for my family. The adults don't need a lot of them and if we pay attention to what our bodies are telling us we won't eat too many but the kids need more calories and fat for their growing bodies and I consider these sources of fat and calories healthy ones.

I know not everyone will agree with me - this is just what I think about it.

I had an interesting handful of experiences over the last week or so that confirms it for me. In the last 6 months my family has eaten almost entirely unprocessed, organic food. Last week as I was updating our emergency food kits I took out a bag of old store-bought, processed granola bars and replaced them with something that's not 2 years old. I put the bag on the counter and told the family they were free game. After I had a couple of them I felt really, really sick. Interesting...Then a few days ago I let Isabel pick a treat from the store for our Family Night and she chose soft, white, frosted, processed cookies from the bakery. After eating a couple of those I got a massive migraine that took a day to recover from. Two days later it was Kelly's bday and we had processed birthday cake and frosting and even though I only ate a small amount I got a bad headache right after. Now when I walk past the cake (there is still a lot left) I feel sick to my stomache. I think I will be making all future treats and birthday cakes from scratch with ingredients I feel good about. A headache is just not worth the convenience of processed food!

Pugsley said...

I've been thinking about these granola bars all day--they look yummy, but all the butter and sweetener will make them more of a special treat for my family. I have several yummy recipes for bars/snacks that I should send you. I use organic raw cane sugar in a lot of recipes--it is natural and hasn't been bleached or stripped of minerals like refined sugar. Quite affordable at Costco. It has made a difference to my immune system (and sugar headaches--a subject we could have a lengthy discussion on). You can add molasses to it to make your own brown sugar. Agave nectar is a good natural sweetener if you don't want the dominating flavors of honey or maple in a certain recipe.

Jennifer said...

I would LOVE to have your other recipes Alyson. I'm sure you could play around with this recipe and use less butter/sweetener. You really just need a binder and some flavor. I want to try mashed banana and applesauce and nut butters as binders and sweeteners. I have some agave, don't love it, but haven't baked with it. I'll have to try it. The raw cane sugar sounds great. I'll have to try it.