Thursday, June 28, 2012

(I Daresay) the Best Granola Bar I've Ever Eaten

     I'm here! Goodness, it's been ages. I've been away from this little spot for months now, not so much out of disinterest or lack of cooking or what-have-you, but just a lack of time. I've just had to choose other things lately and, so, this small bit of the web has been left unattended. I'm sure everyone's lives have gone on swimmingly (speaking of which, it's 100 degrees right now and full and long immersion in a large body of water is sounding awfully perfect. just saying.), my own included; although, I knew there would be something worth breaking the silence and, by george, this recipe is certainly it. I had no idea a granola bar could be so good. Not a clue. Much less, one you can make yourself. I had no great hopes for these, really. Just mixed them up, half paying attention to the directions and mostly pretty certain I was doing it all wrong. And then, bam. My mind was blown. Chocolatey, peanut buttery, nutty, oat-y yumminess. And you can cut up and individually wrap these in true granola bar form. They're even cute. Seriously. So, the story goes…I actually made the first batch of these for church one Sunday with craisins and I believe a few bigger hunks of walnuts. They were good. But then I made them for a hiking/rappelling/swimming trip with some friends (see picture of my insanity below), this time using the choc-pb combo, and this is when they really shone (especially after warming up in my backpack for a couple hours. ah.). Use whatever combo you'd like (see some options below), but know that the version with these ingredients I stumbled upon will knock your socks off. Let me know what you think! Hopefully I'll be back before another 4 months pass by…

borrowed from
yields about 16 hefty bars

1 2/3 cups quick oats
1/2 cup granulated sugar (use less if you'd rather a not-so-sweet bar. i prob will next time.)
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in food processor)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
**2 to 3 cups dried fruit/nuts/mini chocolate chips (10-15 oz total)
1/3 cup peanut butter, optional (i used natural crunchy. highly recommended.)
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon water

**my mix: 
1 cup finely chopped walnuts, 1/2 cup coarsely ground almonds (these can be as fine or coarse as you'd like. leave chunks of nuts if you prefer), 1/4 cup ground flaxseed, 1 cup mini chocolate chips

other suggestions from smitten kitchen: 
dried cranberries, cherries, apricots, pecans, sunflower seeds, coconut, walnuts, pepitas, apples, chocolate chips. her mix included: 1/2 cup wheat germ, 1 cup dried cherries, 1 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup pecans, 1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 8"x8"x2" pan in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to extend up the two sides. Lightly grease parchment and exposed pan. 
2. In large bowl, stir all dry ingredients together, including fruit (if using), nuts, and chocolate. In smaller bowl, whisk vanilla, melted butter, honey, corn syrup, water, and peanut butter, if using. Toss wet ingredients with the dry until mixture is evenly crumbly. Spread into prepared pan, pressing down firmly to mold to pan (placing saran wrap on top helps with this pressing/smoothing process).
3. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until browned around edges (it's okay if they have some color on top and yet still seem soft in the center! they will set when cooled.). Cool in pan completely on a cooling rack, then remove using parchment as a sling. Cut into bars using plastic or serrated knife (chill in fridge for 30 minutes if they seem too crumbly to cut.). Wrap individually with saran wrap and store at room temperature in airtight container or refrigerate/freeze (will freeze well for a couple weeks, i'd imagine). Pack in lunches, take on picnics, have as a midday or midnight snack, for breakfast, on a boat, a plane, whenever/wherever your heart desires!

{a crazy version of myself hanging from a cliff. not gonna lie, it was way fun.}

{i've made multiple attempts over the last couple days to photograph my robin friend here and her nesting babies. each effort, however, was abruptly concluded by myself sprinting inside to escape her squawks and dive-bombs. therefore, this is the best you're gonna get. do you see her?? i'll just let you picture sweet little baby beaks yourself and spare myself and mama robin more distress.}


  1. By George, I daresay this is the cutest blog you've ever written!

  2. I can testify that the first batch, the Sunday church batch with craisins. They were REMARKABLE! In fact I have been anxiously awaiting this post so I can replicate them! YUMMY! So, can you tell me what your first version mix was exactly? I loved the chewy fruit and peanut butter and nuts. I don't remember cinnamon, was there?

  3. oo I just made these too! ah they are so good!