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Katie Davis

@PopCultureCuisine

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Recipe of the Month – Granola Goodness

Friday, February 25, 2011 @ 09:02 AM

009I don’t know about you, but I’m a snacker.  Adam is a 3 meals a day sort of person and often will even forget to eat some of those, yes I yell at him for this!  I on the other hand need to eat something every couple of hours or I get crabby, something my closest friends and family know all to well.  A snack I have always loved is granola bars, now that I’m in my older wiser years I try to buy bars with more natural ingredients and that will actually hold me over a bit longer, Kashi, Luna, Clif, etc.  That being said I still have a sweet spot for those good ol’ Quaker Chewy Granola Bars, the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip to be exact, that my mom always used to have on hand for me.  Although I now equate them to a “healthy candy bar,” they still do in a pinch and let’s face it, probably a healthier snack than other things I could choose.  Granola bars in any form just bring me back to being a kid and I find them to be one of the most perfect snacks.

For as much I enjoy granola bars, I honestly have never considered making my own, so I was intrigued while I was watching Food Network laid up in bed last week to see Giada De Laurentiis making her version of Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip granola bars.  They looked delicious and although maybe more calories, definitely all natural ingredients.  I figured I would give them a go.

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

Prep Time:
15 min
Inactive Prep Time:
1 hr 0 min
Cook Time:
15 min
Level:
Easy
Serves:
24 bars

Ingredients

  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup (1-stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted, *see Cook’s Note
  • 1/3 cup miniature chocolate chips

Directions

Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 7 by 10 3/4-inch nonstick baking pan with vegetable cooking spray. Lay a 6 by 18-inch piece of parchment paper in the pan, allowing the excess paper to hang over the sides. Spray the parchment paper lightly with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, using a hand beater, beat the egg white until frothy. Stir in the peanut butter, brown sugar, and honey. Add the melted butter, oats and almonds. Stir to combine, then add the chocolate chips.

Using a rubber spatula, spread mixture into the prepared baking pan, pressing lightly to form an even layer. Bake until the edge of the mixture begins to brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 1 hour. Cut into 1 1/2-inch squares and serve.

*Cook’s Note: To toast almonds, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven until lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minute

Source

This recipe came together so easily, with nothing more difficult than adding the ingredients one by one and stirring.  I must admit that I had to restrain myself from eating the creamy batter, because it actually looked that good.  But for how creamy that batter was, I was skeptical about how these were going to bind together.

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You will notice that the recipe tells you to lay down a layer of wax paper and spray that with non-stick spray before spooning the batter into the pan, this is allow you to easily remove the granola bars when they have set.  After the 20 minutes they were supposed to cook, I noticed that because of the wax paper, my bars were not really cooking through properly, so I opted to remove the paper and re-cook them until the edges had browned.  The directions also explain that these need to set for an hour after they are cooked so that they can settle.  Well when I went to cut these after an hour, I was surprised because they were still pretty gooey and not quite as adhered as granola bars you would think of, but I was able to still cut them into bars and serve myself one.

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Let’s just say these are not your typical granola bar, I would equate it’s texture to more like a mix between a gooey brownie and really yummy soft oatmeal cookie.  So although these turned out vastly different than what I was imagining, they were still utterly delicious.  So delicious in fact that I had to take them into Adam’s office, because I was going through them entirely too quickly.  I am coming to the conclusion that these probably will never again be made for a “healthy” snack, but rather when I am craving something sweet.

TASTE: It’s safe to say since this pan of brownies, whoops I mean granola bars were polished off in about 2 days that everyone who tried them thoroughly enjoyed them.  Although these are far from your “typical” granola bar, they were definitely a sweet treat with some healthy add ins to make you at least feel a bit better about yourself while mowing down!  And for those of you with kids, these are a sweet treat you can feel good about them eating.

EASE OF PREPARATION: As I mentioned above, these were a cinch.  The most work that was required was toasting the almonds for a bit on a cookie sheet and melting the butter.  Other than that, it was just a matter of mixing all the ingredients together and baking, so simple if you do have kids around, these would be a great recipe they could help you with.

COST: Although we didn’t have the ingredients on hand, because we were down to bare bones, every ingredient is something I usually keep around.  But since we had to buy everything, I was glad that no ingredient was obscure or expensive and you could easily get 2-3 batches out of what you buy.

COMPLEXITY: Like I said above, these were very simple to put together.  Now if you are looking to make these stick together a bit better, the comments listed online under the recipe list a bunch of variations that others have tried and allowed these bars to come together and hold their shape a bit better.  I am undecided as to if I would want them to be different, more granola bar like, because I really did like the chewy brownie like texture, but I know if I decide to there are endless possibilities.

PORTION SIZE: While the recipe says it will yield 24 bars, I used a different size pan and was only able to get 16 bars, so I’m not entirely sure how Giada ever got 24.  But either way, these bars are small, yet back a big punch.  They are sweet enough to satisfy any sweet tooth and have enough staying power to make a somewhat decent snack. 

Overall, while at first I felt as if the recipe came out completely wrong, I was pleasantly surprised with their taste even though they were so different.  These were a big hit with Adam too and a dessert that you feel “good” about eating, so I think these will definitely be making another appearance in our kitchen and definitely earned 4 1/2 Little Piggies.

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3 Responses to “Recipe of the Month – Granola Goodness”

  1. i absolutely LOVE homemade granola bars. made some a few weeks ago that will be posted soon–it amazes me how much better they are than storebought!

  2. These look amazingly yummy! You simply can’t go wrong with a Giada recipe…you just have to try not to eat the WHOLE THING!

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