I may never buy a store-bought granola bar ever again. Seriously.
This month’s Pre-Made Our Way Challenge was to make homemade granola bars. I enjoy the PMOW challenge each month because it’s fairly relaxed – no strict rules, recipe variations allowed, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the Daring Bakers, too (more about that tomorrow…), but it is a challenge since I don’t follow directions all that well. As soon as I saw that the challenge was granola bars, I knew that it was my perfect opportunity to try Alton Brown’s Granola Bars. I saw the episode of Good Eats where he made granola bars not too long ago, and I have thought about them many times since then. Honestly, I’m not sure what took me so long!
I had the greatest intentions of following the recipe, but a last-minute trip to a different grocery store forced me to make a few changes. I had some difficulty finding the ingredients I wanted/needed for the recipe, so I changed things up a bit. The flavors in these granola bars were inspired by what used to be my favorite grab-and-go breakfast – almonds, orange flavored dried cranberries, and oatmeal squares cereal (sans milk). I also added some coconut simply because I thought that would be tasty with the orange flavored dried cranberries… and if I may say so myself, it was!
The only thing I might change the next time around is to add a bit more honey and brown sugar. I upped the amount of dry ingredients a bit, so the granola bars were slightly more crumbly than I wanted. Originally I thought I had ruined the recipe, but it turns out that there’s a reason that you’re supposed to let the bars cool entirely before cutting. Yup, I really need to learn to follow directions. Once they were cooled, they held together and weren’t nearly as crumbly.
I didn’t figure out all of the details, but I am pretty confident that these granola bars are much better for you than most of the pre-packaged bars sold at the store. They were really easy to make, too. So, like I said before, I think I am done buying store-bought granola bars. You will most likely see more granola bar variations here on My Kitchen Addiction in the coming weeks.
Cranberry Coconut Granola Bars
(Adapted from Alton Brown)
- 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup (or just use 1/2 cup honey… I ran out of honey)
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon orange extract would be tasty, too)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dry roasted sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
- 1 – 6 ounce bag orange flavored dried cranberries (Craisins)
- 1 cup sweetened coconut
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 inch by 13 inch glass baking dish and set aside.
Spread the oats and almonds out on a baking sheet (or in my case, your pizza pan because it’s close). Toast the oats and almonds in the oven for about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 300°F.
Meanwhile, combine the honey, corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, vanilla extract, and salt in a small sauce pan. Heat over medium-low heat until the butter and brown sugar are melted.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sunflower seeds, wheat germ, cranberries, and coconut. Add the toasted oats and almonds. Pour the honey mixture into the bowl, and stir until all of the dry ingredients are coated in the honey mixture. Transfer to the prepared baking dish, spreading the mixture evenly and pressing down with your fingers.
Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely (don’t say I didn’t warn you… If you only follow one part of the recipe, this should be it!).
Cut into squares or bars, and enjoy. Store in an airtight container for up to a week. These would be really cute individually wrapped and tied with ribbon, too. I wanted to do that, but couldn’t find the right size bags in my pantry. Next time!