Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Dried Apricot & Peanut Granola Bars

In honor of September, journeys back to school, and our upcoming trip to Yosemite, I decided to dive into the world of granola bars. I was tired of spending dollars and dollars every week on granola bars that were either unsatisfying or delicious but packed a serious caloric punch. I wanted something made just for me: sweet but not too, maybe a little salty, cut to the perfect size for a mid-afternoon snack.

Why didn't I make granola bars sooner? I already make my own granola. Why it never occurred to me that making my own granola bars was just as easy is beyond me. It might have something to do with the large amount of space "all things book writing related" takes up in my mind.

Thanks to Shelly I knew that Ina Garten had a granola bar recipe that was worthy of trying. Of course I had to mix it up a bit, both because I didn't have all the things she called for, and because I wanted to make the granola bar exactly to my liking.

And it was. I sliced these small -- snack size not meal sized -- and they were very good. I stored most in the freezer for our upcoming Yosemite weekend, but I think we're already down to the last two. Another batch will be whipped up this weekend, maybe with Almond Butter and Dried Cherries? Sounds delicious for munching on while hiking, don't you think?

Dried Apricot & Peanut Granola Bars (easily doubled)
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup puffed rice cereal
1/2 cup coconut
1/4 cup dried fruit, I used apricots, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup honey
1/8 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a standard sized loaf pan with parchment.
Combine oats, puffed rice, coconut, and dried fruit in bowl.
Place butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add peanut butter. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over oat and dried fruit mix.
Stir well to combine (will be gooey).
Pour mix into prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden.
Cool well (2 to 3 hours) before attempting to slice into squares.
Makes 6 "snack sized" rectangles.

P.S. Did you eat granola bars when you were a child? I never did. After school it was apples and peanut butter, yogurt, or cheese and crackers for me. Now I wonder how I made it through the school day without a mix of oats, dried fruit, and nuts.

P.P.S. Check out Smitten Kitchen's version of the same Ina Gaten recipe here. The granola bar mood in the air is palpable! Get out the oats.

1 comment:

Shelley (Pink House) said...

Hi Anne -

Thanks for the link! I'm just getting ready to do a new batch of granola this next week and am thinking about what variation to make for my autumn version. I like the idea of dried apricots. I'll bet cherries would go well with it too.

My mom actually made us granola bars back in the 70's but I didn't really appreciate them back then. Now I would though. Now I buy granola bars to keep in my golf bag - they're a great non-perishable for the golf course when you need a energy boost.