Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Homemade Granola "Bites"

Greetings, all! Hope everyone is doing well. I'm back from sunny CA where temperatures were in the 60's during the day....this bitter cold weather in Boston is a shock to the system, I tell ya! We had a great time running the Surf City half marathon (below is a picture of my sister and me after the race :)) and seeing some of the sites on the west coast. And now it's back to reality! And you know what that means...another yummy Barbershop treat for you!

I made homemade granola bars (or "bites" - you'll see why I call them bites later on) to bring along on our trip because I actually forgot to buy some granola bars at the store to bring! Luckily I had all the necessary ingredients on hand, so I whipped up a batch before we left. I decided to use the Food Network's Barefoot Contessa's recipe for homemade granola bars since it received such high ratings online. I would have to agree with the ratings too, as these were quite the delicious snack!

To start, in the oven, you toast oatmeal, almonds, coconut. Meanwhile, on the stove, cook the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt (note: I did not have quite enough honey so I used molasses to make up the difference).

Once the toasted mixture of dry ingredients come out of the oven, you combine them with the liquid mixture just cooked on the stove...I also added flaxseeds (maybe 1/8 to 1/4 cup). You can see them in the bottom of the dish below!

And the rest of the dry ingredients...

Once that mixture is well coated with the liquid mixture, add your other ingredients. The recipe I followed calls for dried cranberries, chopped dates, and chopped apricots... I added some craisins that I had on hand (but it was probably only 1/3 cup or so) and some chopped dates. I did not have apricots though. As a substitute for the items I didn't have, I added sunflower seeds and chocolate chips. :-D I figured chocolate would be a great addition. Wouldn't you agree? Oh, I also forgot to mention that I did not add wheat germ since I didn't have it on hand.

Once all the ingredients are well-combined, everything gets baked in a 13 x 9 pan at 300 degrees. The recipe says to bake it for 25 to 30 minutes, but mine was a nice golden brown after just 20 minutes so check yours early!



The mixture needs to cool for at least 2 or 3 hours, so feel free to spend that time doing something else fun or productive while you wait. ;-)

I read some of the online reviews of this recipe that it was difficult to cut them into bars. I tried to at first but also found it challenging to cut them evenly... So instead, I just broke them into pieces of various sizes with my hands. I think I'll call them granola "bites" as a result. They're a bit more fun sounding that way too, don't you think?! No matter the shape, they're super tasty - I promise!

These granola bites are definitely on the crunchy side, so if you're expecting a chewy texture you'll be surprised! I looooved the flavor combo of the different ingredients added...craisins, coconut, almonds, chocolate, etc. Delicious! Unfortunately, the recipe online did not provide nutritional stats, so I can't tell you how many calories, grams of fat, etc. are in these. However, most of the add-in ingredients have great nutritional value on their own (e.g., dates, oatmeal, almonds) so I think these can certainly be a guilt-free snack. ;-) We definitely enjoyed them on our trip! They helped us run FAST in our race, I'm convinced of it!!!

See you again soon!

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