Friday, June 10, 2011

Junk food no more!

I don't know about you, but to me, summer means getting hungry at random times of the day, exploring the pantry, and coming out with tortilla chips in one hand and chocolate chip cookies in the other.


Just because it's summer and it's too hot to leave the house does not mean hibernation is acceptable. Hibernation in the form of sugar, salt, and fat storage.


Yesterday, I came up with a solution. The homemade granola bar solution.

This isn't a regular TFG-style recipe. However, I can assure you it's a million times healthier than packaged granola bars because all of the ingredients are completely natural.

If it gives you any perspective, these granola bars were a huge hit with my parents who think that nutritional yeast and chia seeds are weird.

Chocolate Cranberry Almond Granola Bars

  • 1 cup uncooked oats
  • 1/3 cup crisp rice cereal (or puffed rice)
  • 3 tablespoons butter (Smart Balance or Earth Balance would also work)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/6 cup chopped roasted almonds
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

In a medium sized pot over the stove (medium-low heat), melt the butter and mix in the brown sugar and salt until dissolved. Then mix in the brown rice syrup. 

Turn off the stove and set this pot aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the oats, puffed rice, baking powder, and chopped almonds.

Then add the dried cranberries and chocolate chips. 

Add the dry ingredients to the cooled butter/sugar mixture. Keyword: cooled. Otherwise the chocolate chips will melt really quickly! Another option is to add the chocolate chips after combining the dry to the wet so that less melting occurs.

I obviously learned this the hard way and had a very chocolaty mixture. But after tasting this, I was totally okay with it. 

Lightly grease a foiled baking sheet and press the granola mixture onto the sheet.

Bake at 275F for 10-15 minutes. The main thing to look for is for this not to burn! Also learned this the hard way.

After taking it out of the oven, let cool. Completely. Then begin to cut it into pieces. 

I individually wrapped these in plastic wrap to store them for later.

The granola bar-like consistency really comes through the next day after these have had a chance to set. So, if you're patient enough to wait, you definitely should! I wanted to take a picture of the individual bars the next day, and to my surprise (but not really), they were completely gone.

This is why I have no real pictures to show of these granola bars. Sigh, it's a hard knock life for a food blogger.

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