By Sharon K. Ghag The Modesto Bee
Making granola bars is easier than making cookies. There’s no butter and sugar to cream, so there’s no need for a mixer or bringing butter and eggs to room temperature.
Homemade granola bars have no additives, no preservatives, no artificial flavors or colors and no unpronounceable ingredients — just whole grain oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruit. They’re a guilty pleasure without a lot of guilt because you control the sugar. They’re also easy to grab when you’re on the go because they hold their shape.
Recipes can be customized to suit your taste: Use different types of oats, vary the amount of nuts and seeds and dried fruit, add cinnamon.
Change up the sugar and the shortening; butter adds an unmistakable flavor. Use dried dates for added sweetness.
Don’t skimp on the nuts and seeds, though. They give the granola bars an added layer of flavor.
Cinnamon and berry granola bars
- 7 tablespoons butter, plus extra for greasing
- 7 cups steel-cut oatmeal
- 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/3 cup sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries, cherries or blueberries, or a mixture
Mix the oats, seeds and nuts in a roasting tin and toast them in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the butter, honey and sugar in a saucepan and stir until the butter has melted. Add the oat mixture, cinnamon and dried fruit and mix until the oats are well coated.
Tip the mixture into the tin, press down lightly and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin, then carefully remove and cut into 12 bars.
From “Clodagh’s Kitchen Diaries: Delicious Recipes Throughout the Year,” by Clodagh McKenna
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon flake sea salt
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup raw pepitas
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Line a 13-by-9-inch pan with foil so it hangs over the sides. Spray with cooking spray.
Whisk maple syrup, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in the oil. Process 1/2 cup oats in food processor until finely ground. Transfer to the bowl with the maple syrup and stir in remaining ingredients and mix until thoroughly coated.
Spread mixture into prepared pan in a thin even layer. Compress with a spatula.
Bake 45 minutes, or until deeply golden. Let cool for at least an hour before cutting. Makes 16 bars.
From “America’s Test Kitchen D.I.Y. Cookbook”
- 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
- 1/2 cup each almond flour, ground flaxseed, walnuts
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup each dried blueberries and dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup unsweetened dried coconut
- 1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 large egg
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg and stir in the honey, oil, vanilla extract and almond extract. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until everything is moist. Divide mixture among 12 medium muffin cups and pack down tightly.
Bake until the edges begin to brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool for several minutes before unmolding. Makes 12 rounds.
From “Muffin Tin Chef,” by Matt Kadey