Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Guest post: Granola bars

Recipe: Granola bars

You all know my good friend V right? For those of you who don't, V and I were colleagues and cubical-neighbours. And quickly became great friends. The otherwise dull work-days seemed so much nicer with her around to listen to my cribs, advices (:P), successes, failures, etc. She also always had something to munch on :) So whether I was hungry, stressed out or just looking for a chat, life seemed better after I stopped by her cube.


Today's post is a guest post from her :) Thanks V for the gorgeous granola bars. I'm drooling already. Do check out her blog for more mouth-watering delectables.



Granola bars make an extremely healthy snack and a great way to finish off those tens of bags of nuts you have ;) They not require too much of preparation. The entire prep work took about 20 minutes for me and after another 15 minutes, I could smell the aroma of the freshly baked granola bars filling our home. If you are too lazy to chop the dried nuts and are ready to pulse them, life is even better !  For a better texture, I pulsed the entire mixture 2-3 times in a food processor and then baked. Also, you can use almost any dried nut along with oats . So don't fret if you do not have those whats-with-the-price pine nuts, cuz this recipe is so forgiving :) 
One thing to make sure of is the pan in which you would bake the granola bars. The bars are usually 1 cm thick. So take a look at your ingredients and then choose a pan which has the right size for spreading the mixture and baking. (I do not have such a pan, so I use my normal baking sheet and somehow manage everytime.)



GRANOLA BARS
Recipe Source: Joy Of Baking

Ingredients:
2 cups oats
2 cups dried nuts - walnut + hazelnut + pine nut + almond + pistachios.
1/2 cup raisins. (I also added 3 dates chopped into small pieces. Its totally optional)
1/2 cup dried coconut

For the syrup:
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp sugar - Increase if you want it to be on the sweeter side. 
3 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla essence
A pinch of cinnamon powder
A pinch of salt just to bring out the flavours

Procedure:
  • Preheat the oven to 350F/175C.
  • Spread the oats , dried nuts, coconut mixture in a baking sheet and warm them up in the oven for 8 minutes stirring in between. Do not let them turn brown.
  • Remove them from the oven and keep aside till they cool down.
  • Once they cool down, pulse in a food processor for a few seconds so that the nuts are broken down into small pieces and keep aside. 
  • Take a pan and heat the ingredients for the syrup. 
  • Just when the mixture starts to boil, remove from heat, and add the oats , dried nuts, raisins, coconut mixture and mix very well so that the syrup is coated well. 
  • Transfer to a greased baking dish ( I used a parchment paper on my baking dish so that cleaning is easier) and spread the mixture to a thickness of ~1 cm and press down hard. I used a masher to press it down firmly. You can also use a parchment paper and rolling pin and give a quick roll to press down the mixture.  
  • Bake this in the oven for 10-14 minutes. Or till the mixture starts to become slighty brownish on the sides. 
  • Cool it down for an hour or two and then cut into squares/rectangles and enjoy.
  • You might get those crumbly pieces while cutting the granola bars. You can use them along with your cereal if you have cereal for breakfast or just munch them down during your evening chai.
  •  The raisins might bloat up when getting baked, and they look cute :) It's ok, you can press them down again after they are removed from the oven. 


We like the granola bars which are not too sweet. So I add very little sugar. Feel free to increase the amount of sugar if you want. If you do not have walnuts, just increase the amount of almonds, maybe add some cashews too. Like I said before, everytime I prepare these bars, there would be something new and we have loved it every time ! 

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