E&E’s Hearty Sweet Granola Bars
July 16, 2011 § Leave a comment
These are days of getting-up-and-going. Work starts at 7:00 a.m. most days for me. I like working early and ending early and having a long time of afternoon-into-evening.
My body would love it if I would rise early enough before work to prepare a hearty breakfast of eggs and cheese and swiss chard and a cup of coffee. My body would also, however, enjoy lying longer in bed. I almost always choose the latter. This means jumping up at the last minute to throw on clothes, put in a ponytail, grab a cap, and find something to nourish myself with before spending many hours working in the heat, the rain, the mud, the dry dust.
I’ve eaten my share of granola bars and there are some good ones out there. But none as good as the recipe my sister discovered a few years ago. She and her husband have made batches and batches of them ever since, playing with variations and usually packing them with different combinations of dried fruit. In graduate school we would go to each other’s houses and have granola-bar making evenings in between the stress of studying and working and job-searching. (Such good memories!)
After graduate school ended, I guess I set aside the recipe and forgot. I found it again when I moved into this new apartment and stuck it to the fridge so I’d remember to make the bars. Months later? I still hadn’t.
And then I wanted to with enough determination to quit imagining that it would happen later. It would happen now! But I am watching the pennies and so this time instead of going out to buy what I didn’t have – which, actually, was a good chunk of the ingredients – I substituted with what I did have. I am happy to report that they are just as tasty!
So, though my original recipe is entitled Elena’s Granola Bars, these adaptations make the new one both of ours. E&E’s Hearty Sweet Granola Bars. (And next time, I might add peanut butter! Or finely chopped espresso beans. Ooh.)
For those of you who also have get-up-and-go mornings.
And remember: it’s nice to share with your siblings.
2 cups mixed nuts
1 cup oats
2 cups hearty cereal (I used muesli)
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup honey
4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 dark chocolate bar
Put mixed nuts in a food processor or blender and pulse to chop. Mix the nuts, oats, and cereal, then toast in a 400-degree oven for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Line a glass baking dish with wax paper (I also found that a nonstick baking dish worked fine, without the wax paper). In a saucepan, bring the brown sugar, honey, butter, vanilla and salt to a simmer. Mix everything together except for the chocolate. Dump granola into the baking dish. Put wax paper on top and press down hard (I skipped this step, but it’s a good idea of you want to make sure the bars are dense and hold together well). Chop or break up the chocolate bar and, after the bars have cooled some, press the chocolate pieces into the granola. (Doing so sooner would cause them to melt.) Press down on the bars with the wax paper again, if desired. Let chill for several hours, then cut and serve! If you want a more concise way to store them, you can layer them in a container with pieces of wax paper in between. Feel free to make variations – and let me know how they turn out. (Coconut? Coconut and apricots? Cranberries and white chocolate chips. Blueberries and dark chocolate. Go on!)