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Granola Bars

January 25, 2011

It was snowing today and i had the day off! I am also dead broke poor because i’m going to Japan in April, so i can’t really go all out with my baking every week like i usually do. I’m so excited to go again! I went around the same time last year and the experience was beyond all comprehensive words. It was my first trip outside the United States, so it was kind of a big deal. I think this time around i’ll be a little less overwhelmed with trying to figure out how to get to places and my issues with their currency, and party a little bit more. Last year we didn’t really go out at night or drink and i still had $300 left over. Thus resulting in not really returning with any presents for anybody. But not this time! I also bought a fancy schmancy new camera that i can’t wait to use over there.

Anyway, I really missed baking because last week i didn’t at all. I’m on a strict budget, but luckily i had most of the ingredients needed for this recipe, and it isn’t a whole lot. I always have a giant tub of Quaker oats in my cupboard, and honey. With granola bars you have a lot of room to be creative. You can pretty much add anything you want! I added semi-sweet chocolate chips to mine because i wanted a sweetness to combine with the saltiness of the nuts. I also used a container of mixed nuts instead of buying individual bags of specific nuts, which also saved me lots of money. The mix i had contained brazil nuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, cashews, pecans, and almonds. For dried fruit i used pomegranate, cherries, and raisins.

These had everything i was looking for in a granola bar; chewy, crunchy, salty and sweet, and tart from the dried cherries. My cat watched, as usual.

Granola Bars
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup chopped nuts* [you can use a mix of your own, or just stick with one kind. I bought Planters mixed nuts that contained cashews, peanuts, brazil nuts, hazlenuts, pecans, and almonds]
1/2 cup wheat germ
2/3 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup dried pomegranate
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter an 8×12-inch baking dish (lacking this, I used a 9×13-inch) and line it with parchment paper.

Chop or crush your nuts

Toss the oatmeal and your chopped nuts together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.

While the mixture is still warm, stir in the honey, vanilla and salt until the mixture is well coated, then the dried fruit. Pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish and press it down as hard as you can.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares — your best serrated knife is great for this.

You can store these in an airtight container at room temperature for a week or two, as you would cookies.


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