So here is a recipe from Smitten Kitchen, another really great cooking blog that I frequent. As much as I have really enjoyed Annie’s Eats, there are a lot of desserts and I just don’t have that many occassions or the figure to justify that many baked goods. I haven’t explored this one a whole lot, but there seems to be quite a few promising recipes.
1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats
1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar (use more for a sweetness akin to most purchased bars; use less for a mildly sweet bar) (I used 1/2 and thought they were plenty sweet)
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts (total of 10 to 15 ounces)*
1/3 cup peanut butter or another nut butter (I used almond butter) (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional, namely because I was not convinced that the flavor came through)
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup honey, maple syrup or corn syrup
2 tablespoons light corn syrup (see Note above)
1 tablespoon water
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. Lightly grease the parchment paper and the exposed pan, or coat with a non-stick spray.
Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter or oil, liquid sweeteners and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry (and peanut butter, if you’re using it) until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan. (A piece of plastic wrap can help with this, as you press down on the back of it.)
Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges — don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops too. They’ll still seem soft and almost underbaked when you press into the center of the pan but do not worry, they’ll set completely once completely cool.
So my notes: I used a combo of ground flax seed (about 1/4 c), slivered almonds (1/2 c), cherries (1/2 c), dark chocolate chips (1/2 c) and rice krispies (3/4 c). I also used peanut butter since that’s what I had on hand. As I was mixing it together I was worried the pb would over power the other flavors. Ends up I was right. Next time while using the almond, dark chocolate and cherry combo I will use almond butter and up the cherries to 3/4 c to 1 full c. I am also excited to try different combo such as pecans, craisins (even the orange essence ones), sunflower seeds and chocolate chips. I also would like to do a combo of peanuts, pb butter chips and sunflower seeds. My only complaint about the recipe is the use of the corn syrup. I really hate the stuff and used the honey when called for.
I have great oatmeal bar recipe that I’ll share someday. If I recall correctly, they are on the healthier side and are more muffin like in density. I am still searching for a good, plain granola, but have not found one that I really like, that is healthy anyway. Of course I’m sure they are better than the store bought ones, but I don’t like using all the oils and sugars, just as this recipe does. No wonder it tastes so good!