Friday, April 1, 2011

The Quest For A Better Granola Bar...



...than this granola bar.  Not to toot my own horn or anything...but I make a pretty crazy good granola bar.  So, I'm always on the lookout for another recipe that could be better than the one I have.  There have been some contenders, but this recipe is still my favourite.  With a butter/peanut butter/brown sugar/honey goo spilled over lots of large flake oats and nuts, dried fruit and chocolate....it is a gooder.




Whenever I go on a road trip I bring my own snacks....I'm not much of a pop-and-chips kind of girl, so gas station food does nothing for me.  In preparation for the drive to my sister Juanita's this weekend, I whipped up a batch of these granola goodies.  The drive to her place is only 3 hours, but on long and lonely stretches of Prairie highway, it can feel a lot longer.  It's true - you really can see for miles.  Have a little snack, turn the music up and we are there before we know it.  Plus I know her girls will go nuts for these bars - especially Miss O, who loves anything smothered in peanut butter.  Miss M is too little, but she may have a nibble, with her tiny, yet mighty chompers.




I first made these bars when I worked as a staff cook at a fancy fishing lodge in the beautiful Yukon Territory, way way back in the late '90s, early 2000's.  Funny how one bite takes me back to the land of the the midnight sun. Full of protein and other good things, these bars were taken on many a heli-hike and shore lunch.  I even ate them for breakfast, or for a late night snack after a terribly exciting game of Yahtzee.  Yep we were in the wilderness, and yep we made our own fun.  Boy, did we ever.




This recipe is very versatile...originally it calls for coconut, but I dislike coconut, so it goes nowhere near this recipe.  If you like, put it in (we can still be friends, I won't hold it against you.  But if you like raisins, we may have to break up.) I opted for extra nuts instead of coconut.  And I added flax instead of bran, and I used honey instead of corn syrup. I cut back the chocolate (I know!  Who does that?!!) and added dried apricots instead.   Like I said, you can monkey around with it and it will still turn out fantastic.  If I see another recipe for an energy/granola bar, chances are I will give it a go, but I have a feeling I'll always come back to this one.  If not for the deliciousness of it, but for the awesome memories it conjures up. 



Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars

3/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup corn syrup (OR honey)
1/2 cup butter
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups large flake oatmeal
1/2 cup coconut (or chopped nuts)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (or your favourite seeds.  pumpkin would be perfect)
1/3 cup wheat germ OR bran OR ground flax seed
2 tbsp sesame seeds ( I added a bit extra)
1 cup chocolate chips (I did half chocolate, half dried apricots.  You could use other dried fruit)

Preheat oven to 350*F.
Line a 9x13 pan with parchment.  In a saucepan, melt the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar and honey, over low heat, stirring often.  Stir in the vanilla once it's all a melted goo.  In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Pour the goo over the dry and stir well.  Pour in to the prepared pan, and press it in.  Bake for about 20 minutes, until edges are golden.  It will set up when it cools.  Chewy good!!!


7 comments:

  1. Oh the memories!! I still fall back on this one all the time too Renee and with you all the way out in Saskatchewan and Grandma gone, I have no one left to play Yahtzee with; but after a wild tickle session with my little man, these are always a hit. I use dried cranberries instead of raisins and pepita seeds instead of coconut. YUM

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  2. Candus, Yahtzee will always rule. I love that you make these too, and dried cran and pepita would be awesome. My sis and her hub love playing Yahtzee too, so I may just be rolling the dice this weekend! Come on large straight!

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  3. These look wonderful! I'm big on travelling with granola bars when I'm on planes, etc. b/c I'm a vegetarian and usually can't find food to eat on the domestic flights. I've heard of people making granola bars in the microwave also, have you tried that? I'm bookmarking these to make (hopefully soon)!! I'm really looking forward to it. Thanks for sharing. Cheers.

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  4. VTK, I don't have a microwave and don't think I would ever bake in it if I did. Though I have seen recipes for baking brownies in a slow - cooker - that sounds intriguing! I hope you like these - they travel super well :)

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  5. Hi Renee, I have just stumbled across your blog recently. I LOVE IT!!! Oh my goodness, these granola bars look like they're going to taste good! In the oven as I type. My kiddos are enjoying licking the bowl after cooking! Kirsten x

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  6. Ahhh!! I just openned a new bag of oatmeal this morning and thought, "I should make some granola bars soon." - Then - here I am checking your blog and you've put a recipe up for them! I am absolutely going to try these. Like right now. But, I'm sorry to say, I'm gonna have to throw a handful of raisins in them. Sorry Renee! Please don't block me from your blog because of my affinity for wizzened up grapes! :) By the way, Mom made your lemon creamcheese muffins over the Easter holiday and they were awesome!!

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  7. Running into the kitchen to make these right now! I have all of the ingredients on hand and although I've made pounds and pounds of homemade granola, I've never attempted bars. Why, you ask? I don't know. I guess I haven't read a mouth watering recipe like this one before. Thanks Renee...these look amazing!

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