Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Chewy Granola Bars

I've been on the lookout for a great homemade granola bar recipe for quite awhile now. The recipes that I've tried in the past were filled with honey and corn syrup ... I mean FILLED with it. So much so that you might as well just munch on a chocolate bar ... dipped in maple syrup! My goal was to find a tasty, chewy bar that had healthy stuff packed in it but still had a sweetness to it. I believe I've found it! This bar really reminds me of the Quaker Harvest Crunch cereal that I loved as a kid. I think it's because of the coconutty taste to it.

I found this recipe on a blog called Cinnamon and Sass (who originally got it from Allrecipes.com). I thought I'd give it a try because the sweetened condensed milk intrigued me.
These granolas bars passed my "Kid Approved" testing (which is fairly strict and can easily waiver with an ill-placed serving of raisins or *gasp* other healthy stuff!). I gave some to my kids and they (especially 10 year old Cub) loved them!
I did make some adjustments to better suit our family. I didn't use the walnuts in the orginal recipe because of the nut allergy in our family (I substituted Rice Krispies instead which added a nice light crunch) and I used Freenut Butter instead of the butter or peanut butter. I couldn't taste the nutty flavour of the Freenut Butter but I like using it better than butter because Freenut Butter has no trans fats or cholesterol and boasts lots of Omega-3 and -6's. I also used white chocolate chips as well as chocolate chips (the chocolate was used to entice the kids and keep their attentions away from the craisins, coconut and oats ... all part of my master plan. Bwa ha ha!!). I also finely chopped the craisins (to hid them a bit better from Karate Kid who can usually smell a craisin from 50 feet away).

One of the main reasons I love this recipe is that it's so easy to adjust to your own family's tastes. Try adding sunflower seeds, for added fibre add wheat germ, various nuts, dark chocolate, dried cherries, dried apricots ....

3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
2 tbsp butter, melted (or peanut butter or Freenut butter)
1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1 cup Rice Krispies
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries (aka Craisins), finely chopped if desired

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a jellyroll pan (or cookie sheet) with greased tin foil (or parchment paper).

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together until well blended. Press flat into the prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on how crunchy you want your granola bars to turn out. I pulled mine out after about 20 minutes when they were lightly browned around the edges. My bars came out nice and chewy.

Remove bars from the foil/parchment paper; cut into rectangles while they're still warm then let them cool completely.


jenn said...

sounds good! I just made one, but it was with corn syrup... so I will have to try this!

Laurie said...

I really do love these bars. Easy to change them up too. As long as I put some sort of chocolate in them I'm sure my kids will keep eating them. Next time I'll put in less chocolate and more dried fruit (maybe apricots) and see how much I can get away with before the kids catch on!! ;)

Janssen said...

Ooh, these look so good! I make my own granola bars, but they have honey. Is SCM better for you than honey? I have no clue, clearly.

Laurie said...

I have no idea if SC milk is better than honey but I did find that these granola bars weren't as sticky and didn't get caught in my teeth like other granola bars.
Not sure why SC milk was used but it sure did work well.

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