Happy National Granola Bar Day! It is also Cheese Lover’s Day, but I couldn’t come up with a tasty way to incorporate cheese into a granola bar (if you come up with something, let me know).
I eat granola bars almost every day as a snack. My favorite type is Nature Valley Trail Mix, and I buy it in Sam’s Club-sized boxfuls. It is so perfectly chewy! I thought about trying to recreate those, but when I spotted dried papaya in my pantry I immediately switched gears (I adore dried papaya). My eyes then grazed over a bag of dried blueberries and I knew I was on to something. And as if I had planned ahead, I grabbed my bottle of Winter Park Orange Blossom honey thinking the light citrus flavor that lingered would be the perfect compliment.
Quick tangent. Winter Park Honey is a small family owned honey company (by my Aunt and Uncle in fact) providing raw, unheated, unfiltered and unstrained honey, with unique flavors dependent upon the local flowers located throughout Florida and Colorado. Their honey products have also received several awards, which comes as no surprise to me. Check out their website for more information, and to find out how to get some of your own! Here is my stock:
Back to these granola bars. Although the end pieces came out quite well, I did have a bit of trouble cutting the granola bars and having them fall apart. Before cutting the entire pan, I decided to chill them in the refrigerator hoping that would make everything stick better – like drying glue – and it seemed to work pretty well. However, next time I may add more corn syrup – maybe that will be stickier. But I did not reflect that in this recipe since I have not tried it yet. Who knows, maybe your kitchen won’t be as humid and you won’t have crumbly problems!
But as for the flavors? Oh they are just a happy little family! And I am not usually a fan of coconut but it adds just that little extra to make it all come together. This granola bar may be chewier and softer than my store-bought favorites. I guess that shouldn’t come as a surprise, since these are obviously fresher. Also, adapt this recipe freely. You can take or leave the coconut, swap out the fruit and nuts, and opt for other seasonings besides cinnamon such vanilla. What are your favorite granola bar ingredients?
2 cups oats
1 cup rice puffs
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup flaxseed meal
1-1/2 cup nuts (1 cup whole almonds + 1/2 cup sunflower seeds)
1-1/2 cup dried fruit (3/4 cup papaya + 3/4 cup blueberries)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp butter, melted
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
1 Tbsp water
3/4 cup Winter Park Orange Blossom honey (or substitute regular honey + 1/2 tsp orange zest)
1/4 cup brown sugar
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9″x9″x2″ pan with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the sides and stick out of the pan a few inches (will be used later to lift from pan). Coat with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl mix together oats, rice puffs, coconut, flaxseed meal, nuts, fruit, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl combine butter, light corn syrup, water, honey, and brown sugar.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until incorporated. Dump into prepared pan and press down firmly in order to mold into the pan.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the edges are browned and the top has a little bit of color.
- Allow to cool on cooling rack. Lift the granola from the pan by grasping both protruding ends of parchment paper, cooling completely. Set in refrigerator for 30 minutes before cutting to ensure the granola bars will not crumble.
- Cut into bars with a serrated knife (I cut mine into 1″x4.5″ bars). Store in individual snack-sized ziplock baggies.
Source: The Spiffy Cookie original