Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Chewy Homemade Granola Bars

Reading the side of a granola bar package can be pretty jaw-dropping at times, and may require a degree in chemistry - a dictionary, at the very least! Personally, I'm tired of reading about all the 'crap' I'm ingesting, and am taking it upon myself more and more to prepare things at home with basic ingredients. Now, I realize a lot of the ingredients I'm using are processed to some degree, but at least I'm cutting out the preservatives and flavour enhancers.

This is the second granola bar recipe I've tested, and I have to admit, I prefer it to any of the packaged bars I've had. I think the pumpkin and spices really make it stand out, plus I enjoy the pistachios! These bars received rave reviews at work and were one of the recipes that convinced my coworker to purchase The Looneyspoons book! Oh... and most important, they're pretty quick to throw together!

  • 2 1/2 cups Quick-Cooking Rolled Oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • 1/2 cup raw chopped Almonds, Pecans or Pistachios, I went with pistachio
  • 1/2 cup chopped Dried Cranberries
  • 1/2 cup mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/3 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/4 cup ground Flaxseed
  • 1 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 3/4 cup Canned Pure Pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup Liquid Honey
  • 1/4 cup Butter, melted
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, letting the paper overhang on two opposite sides (so you can use it as a sling to pick up the granola bars after baking).

2) Combine first 9 ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well.

3) In a medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin, honey, butter and vanilla.

4) Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients. Mix using a wooden spoon until dry ingredients are coated with pumpkin mixture. Make sure there aren't any dry oats in the bottom of the bowl! Stir, stir, stir!

5) Pour wet granola mixture into the prepared pan and spread it evenly to the edges. Using your hand, press down firmly on the granola so that it's tightly packed in the pan.

6) Bake on middle oven rack for about 25 minutes, until top turns a light golden brown and feels dry to touch. Remove pan from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

Lift cooled slab of granola from pan, by holding parchment paper, and transfer to a cutting board. Using a large, sharp knife, cut the granola into 16 bars (Tip: Press down with the knife to cut the bars and avoid a sawing motion.) Wrap bars tightly in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container, either at room temperature or in the fridge.

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