Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Granola bars

I adore oats in all forms--oatmeal, granola bars, muesli, fruit topping, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, etc.--maybe I'm secretly Scottish? Granola bars are a great snack for busy days.  It's nice to have something other than fruits and nuts to eat if I'm out longer than I was planning.  Sadly, I find the good tasting gluten bars are generally just fruit and nuts.  I end up feeling like a monkey  You can imagine how excited I was to find Smitten Kitchen's post for oat-based, crunchy granola bars.  I love them! They are just a tiny bit crumbly when you bite into them and not too sweet, just perfect. I try to keep a few in the freezer all the time, but since my husband and sister both love them, too, we're often out.

I follow the recipe mostly as written, reducing the honey and substituting a ground flax for the wheat germ.  Here's the ingredient list:

2 cups certified gluten free rolled oats(I like Cream Hill Estate's Lara's Rolled Oats)
1 cup sliced or slivered almonds
1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed (I use unsweetened)
1/2 cup ground flax
a little more than 1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cup dried fruit, or a mix of dried fruit and nuts and seeds (I often use ~1/2 cup total  pepitas, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and any other bits of nuts I have around and 1 cup dried cranberries)

Follow the directions as written--I use a 9x13" pyrex baking dish.  Be sure to press them very flat before baking, just as Deb recommends.  It's really key.  Mine usually take about 22 minutes to bake--be careful not to let the bottom burn.  Don't be like me and get impatient and remove them from the dish before they have completely cooled.  You will have sad crumbly bar bits everywhere.  Enjoy!

PS. If you don't feel like making your own, I do recommend Larabars and Mrs. May's Trio bars.  They are of the 'only fruits and nuts and seeds' variety and are quite tasty.

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