Monday, January 20, 2014

Granola Bars

It's my life long pursuit to find a granola bar recipe that doesn't taste like saw dust. After many fails, I decided to put together my own recipe. The major problem I found was that virtually no recipes were able to provide me with a granola bar that I could cut up without ending up with a pile of granola. I decided to start with perhaps the greatest treat glue of all time...marshmallow. You know what I am talking about without referencing any brand names that will get me sued for copyright infringement. So I toasted up some oats, added a few ingredients, cooked up my glue and VOILA! Granola bars that you can actually cut into bars. I'm not sure they are any healthier than the ones they sell in the store, but they probably definitely have less crazy additives. Plus, once you buy the essentials, you can make a lot of them for a lot less money. So, without further ado...

1-1/2 cups old-fashoned oats (not the quick oats)
1 T. butter, melted
1 T. oil
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine the oats with the oil, butter and salt in a bowl. Spread them onto a cookie sheet and toast them at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until they are a light golden brown. Be sure to flip them a few times so they don't burn. While the oats are baking, combine the following ingredients in a bowl, then set aside:

1 cup crispy rice cereal
1/2 cup slivered almonds (unsalted)
1/4 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
1/4 cup cranberries
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 T. dark brown sugar
2 T. light agave nectar (you could probably substitute honey. My kids hate honey.)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Finally, melt 1-1/2 T. butter in a non-stick pot. Add 2 cups of mini marshamallows. Stir until all of the marshmallows melt.

By this time your oats should be nice and toasty. Add them to the crispy rice mixture. Now pour the marshmallow sauce over the whole thing. Stir until combined.  Pour into about a 7" x 9" square dish that has been sprayed with cooking oil. Spray some oil on your hands and press the granola into the pan until the top is flat. Now microwave about 1/2 cup chocolate chips and a teaspoon of coconut oil in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until all of the chips have melted. Spread the mixture over the top of the bars. Now put the mixture in the refrigerator until the chocolate sets. After about 30-40 minutes, you can cut the mixture into bars. I hope you enjoy these treats! I'd like to hear about any other fruit and nut mixtures that anyone else tries. That part is flexible. Just don't add chocolate chips to the hot mixture, unless you want chocolate bars. The chip will melt. That's why I added it to the top.