Tuesday, March 17, 2009
homemade granola bars
I have professed my love for the Barefoot Contessa (aka Ina Garten) in prior posts, and so will spare you. These delish granola bars come from her most recent book, Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics. I have been meaning to make them for a couple of months, but only today found an excuse! I'm heading to San Francisco on Thursday to visit my partner in crime and blogging! Yay! And since airlines offer zero in the way of refreshments and to say that airport food is always gross/disappointing is an understatment, I decided I needed to take snacks! I perused the aisles at Trader Joe's, but nothing struck my fancy. And that's when I remembered this recipe. Wholesome, delicious. Mess-free (at least in the eating). I have made Ina's granola dozens of times (my mom makes it every week, to go with her homemade granola. Just so you know) and so these weren't much more complicated. I could not be happier with the results! Sweet, chewy, preservative free! Love 'em. I am, in fact, eating one as I type this. I just couldn't wait.
And ps - you can use whatever dried fruit you like. I ended up with cranberries and prunes (I was thinking dates, but for some reason grabbed prunes. Almost the same thing, right?) or omit the fruit completely! Enjoy!
Homemade Granola Bars
from The Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics
yields 12 to 16 bars
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ (ed. note: i omitted this)
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 x 12 inch baking dish and line with parchment paper.
Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in wheat germ.
Reduce oven temperature to 300 degress.
Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dried fruit and stir to combine.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet you fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.