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Friday, October 2, 2009

Homemade Granola Bars

Recently my wonderful grandma sent me a "Cooking for Two" magazine with some awesome recipes that I fully intend to make at some point. Along with the magazine, she also included a recipe from October's Good Housekeeping for homemade granola bars. I was eager to try these, but our house was already overflowing with other baked goods, so I decided to make a batch to give to my brother-in-law when he came over.

These aren't all that difficult, although toasting the oats in the microwave is kind of annoying (well, only if you're me and misread the directions and burn your first batch of oats...oops). Also, I didn't have toasted wheat germ, but I just heated my untoasted wheat germ in a skillet until light brown and it turned out fine.

Homemade Granola Bars
as seen in the October 2009 issue of Good Housekeeping

-2 cups old fashioned oats
-3/4 cup toasted wheat germ
-3/4 cup chopped walnuts (I used pecans)
-3/4 cup dried cranberries (I used a dried fruit mix that included raisins, dried apples, dried apricots, dried peaches, and dried pears)
-2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup honey
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-2 large egg whites

1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 13 x 9 inch metal baking pan (I used a glass pan) with nonstick cooking spray. Line pan with foil, with ends extending 2 inches over short sides of pan; spray foil.
2. In glass pie plate, spread oats; microwave on High, in 1-minute increments, 4 to 5 minutes or until fragrant and golden, stirring occasionally (my oats were good after 3 minutes but DON'T FORGET TO STIR!) Cool to room temperature.
3. In large bowl, combine oats, wheat germ, walnuts, cranberries, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in honey, oil, and egg whites until well mixed. Transfer to prepared pan. Using wet hand, press into even layer.
4. Bake for 32-35 minutes or until dark golden. Cool in pan on wire rack.
5. When cool, use foil to transfer to cutting board. Cut into bars and store in a tightly sealed container at room temperature up to 1 week (or 1 month in the freezer).

Pictures below...

Mixing the dry ingredients

Adding the wet ingredients & mixing

Ready for baking

And after baking, looking the same

The remains after cutting into bars!! Perfect for sampling :)

These were a little difficult to cut, as you can see from the picture above! I think if I had made them in a slightly smaller pan so that they would've been thicker, they might have stuck together better. Even so, as you saw in the picture at the beginning of the post, I was able to cut them to look like granola bars even if they were a little misshapen. However, these were AWESOME...much better than any store-bought granola bar. They were perfectly chewy and tasted fresh. I can't wait to make these again and experiment with different add-ins (chocolate chips, coconut, etc)! Justin, my BIL, was planning on keeping half out to eat this week and then freezing the other half...I'm anxious to hear how the frozen ones taste after they thaw. I'll let you know if I hear!