Saturday, March 15, 2014

Chewy Granola Bars

In my never-ending quest to find a good portable breakfast for myself, I gave these chewy granola bars a shot.  My work BFF Laura had gotten the recipe off her friend's food blog (I guess she is just drawn to us bloggers!) and told me that I had to try them.  I thought the recipe looked quick and easy - they're no bake - so I gave them a shot.

I realized quickly that I was out of puffed rice cereal.  How does that happen!?  I swear, most of the time we have 3 open boxes of Rice Krispies in my cabinet.  But today there were none.  I figured I would be fine if I had another light, crunchy, small cereal - which I didn't.  So I made the executive decision to chop up some Cheerios.  I was a little worried, but it actually worked out perfectly.

Anyway, the cereal and oats get mixed together, and then you make somewhat of a syrup from half a stick of butter, some honey and light brown sugar, and don't forget some vanilla at the end.  Doesn't that sound good already?  Mix it all up good and pour it into a greased sheet, and then the fun really begins.  You can decide to top the bars with whatever you want.  I made the mistake of asking my mother for advice for what we should toss on, and she requested lots of nuts.  I hate walnuts for some some reason, so I refused to agree with that, but I did press on some almonds and pecans.  I also added pepitas (and what an excellent idea that was!), sunflower seeds, raisins, and craisins - not all over the place, mind you.  The cool part of this recipe is you get to mix and match flavors on certain areas of the bars.  So some were all nutty, some were seedy (bad adjective), some were fruity, some were a mix.

These are really, really good.  Sweet - but also salty if you choose slightly salty toppings like the sunflower seeds - with a great chewy texture.  They were all devoured by us quickly.  The next time I make them, I will definitely make a double batch.  By the way, we found that keeping them in the fridge kept them from semi-melting into a giant granola bar.  Just a helpful hint :)


chewy granola bars
From Fresh Mama

1/2 stick of butter
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 cups quick cooking oats (you MUST use quick oats or they will be crumbly)
1 cup puffed rice cereal
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
chocolate chips, flaked coconut, raisins, seeds or nuts for toppings (1/4 cup total)

1) Lightly coat a 9x13 baking sheet with cooking spray (coconut oil or vegetable oil)

2) Stir oats and rice cereal together.

3)  Melt butter, honey, and sugar in small saucepan over medium heat. Once mixture become hot and bubbly, allow to simmer for 2 minutes more.

4)  Add the vanilla and remove from heat.

5)  Pour over dry ingredients and stir until thoroughly coated.  Dump mixture onto baking sheet and spread out with a spatula.

6) Take a sheet of waxed paper and press down firmly on mixture. We used a smaller sized baking sheet to press the bars evenly.

7)  Once bars are pressed firmly, add the toppings and gently press into top of bars.  Cover bars with wax paper and allow to set at room temperature or in the fridge for at least 2 hours. I find they harden even more overnight.

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