Homemade granola easy to create and so much better than store-bought


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Posted Online: March 19, 2013, 2:04 pm
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Making granola bars is easier than making cookies. There's no butter and sugar to cream, so there's no need for a mixer or bringing butter and eggs to room temperature.

Homemade granola bars have no additives, no preservatives, no artificial flavors or colors and no unpronounceable ingredients — just whole grain oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruit.

They're a guilty pleasure without a lot of guilt because you control the sugar. They're also easy to grab when you're on the go because they hold their shape.

Steel-cut oatmeal in the cinnamon and berry granola bars creates a sturdy bar that crumbles in the mouth into smaller pieces that deliver a satisfying chew. The sugar takes a back seat to the toasted flavor of the oatmeal.

The apricot, pistachio and almond flapjacks also are light on the sugar and hard in texture. The bars are dry-tasting with bits of hard apricots that provide a nice tart finish to the mellow flavor of old-fashioned oatmeal.

The granola bars from "America's Text Kitchen" are made with old-fashioned oatmeal, some of which is ground into a flour. These bars are sweet — almost dessert-like — and melt in your mouth. Replace olive oil with butter for a distinctive taste that's hard to beat.

The granola rounds are the sweetest of the bunch. Quick-cook oatmeal gives them a soft and chewy texture, and the added egg ensures they hold their shape and don't crumble.

All three recipes can be customized to suit your taste: Use different types of oats, vary the amount of nuts and seeds and dried fruit, add cinnamon. Change up the sugar and the shortening; corn syrup will produce a sturdier bar and butter adds an unmistakable flavor. You can even try a combination of corn syrup and marshmallows. Use dried dates for added sweetness.

Don't skimp on the nuts and seeds, though. They give the granola bars an added layer of flavor.

For all but the granola rounds, heat all the wet ingredients before mixing into the dry ingredients to give the bars a running start in coming together.

Two of the recipes don't require coconut. Do yourself a favor and add it. Shredded coconut gives granola an unmistakable texture and taste.

Cinnamon and berry granola bars
Makes 12 bars
7 tablespoons butter, plus extra for greasing
7 cups steel-cut oatmeal
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons honey
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup dried cranberries, cherries or blueberries, or a mixture

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter and line the base of a 7-by-10-inch pan.
Mix the oats, seeds and nuts in a roasting tin and toast them in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the butter, honey and sugar in a saucepan and stir until the butter has melted. Add the oat mixture, cinnamon and dried fruit and mix until the oats are well coated.
Tip the mixture into the tin, press down lightly and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin, then carefully remove and cut into 12 bars.
Note: You can use any dried berries you wish. Vanilla extract can be substituted for the cinnamon.

This recipe is from "Clodagh's Kitchen Diaries: Delicious Recipes Throughout the Year," by Clodagh McKenna (Kyle Books, $27.95).

Granola rounds
Serves 12
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup each almond flour, ground flaxseed, walnuts
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup each dried blueberries and dried cranberries
1/3 cup unsweetened dried coconut
1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 large egg
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together oats, almond flour, flax seeds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, blueberries, cranberries, coconut, cinnamon, salt and allspice.
In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg and stir in the honey, oil, vanilla extract and almond extract. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until everything is moist. Divide mixture among 12 medium muffin cups and pack down tightly. Bake until the edges begin to brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool for several minutes before unmolding.

This recipe is from "Muffin Tin Chef," by Matt Kadey (Ulysses Press, $15.95).

Granola bars
Makes 16 bars
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon flake sea salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup raw pepitas
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Line a 13-by-9-inch pan with foil so it hangs over the sides. Spray with cooking spray. Whisk maple syrup, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in the oil. Process ½cup oats in food processor until finely ground. Transfer to the bowl with the maple syrup and stir in remaining ingredients and mix until thoroughly coated.
Spread mixture into prepared pan in a thin even layer. Compress with a spatula. Bake 45 minutes, or until deeply golden. Let cool for at least an hour before cutting.

This recipe is from "America's Test Kitchen D.I.Y. Cookbook" ($26.95).

Apricot, pistachio and almond flapjacks
Makes 24 flapjacks
5 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
3/4 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
1 1/2 ounces mixed seed (sesame, pumpkin, sunflower)
1/2 cup whole almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 cup whole pistachios, roughly chopped
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, plus extra for greasing
2 heaping tablespoons tahini
3 heaping tablespoons golden syrup
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients except the sugar in a mixing bowl and set aside. Add the butter, tahini, syrup and sugar to a pan on a low heat. Stir to melt the butter and sugar, then add to the mixing bowl. Turn well to mix the two. Grease an ovenproof dish or baking tray and turn the mixture into it, pressing down firmly. Bake for 25 minutes until dark golden brown. Remove and slice straight away — the flapjacks will firm up as they cool.
Notes: Lyle's Golden Syrup can be found in some supermarkets. Honey can be used instead.

This recipe is from "Kitchen & Co.: Colorful Home Cooking Through the Seasons," by Rosie French and Ellie Grace (Kyle Books, $22.95).

















 



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  Today is Tuesday, July 22, the 203rd day of 2014. There are 162 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Everybody is invited to go on a moonlight excursion next Monday evening on the steamer New Boston. The trip will be from Davenport to Muscatine and back.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The mayor and bridge committee let a contract to the Clinton Bridge company for a $1,125 iron bridge across Sears canal near Milan.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Injunction proceedings to compel the Central Association to keep a baseball team in Rock Island for the remainder of the season were contemplated by some of the Rock Island fans, but they decided to defer action.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The first of the new and more powerful diesel engines built for the Rock Island Lines for the proposed Chicago-Denver run, passed thru the Tri-Cities this morning.
1964 -- 50 years ago: The Rock Island Rescue Mission is negotiating for the purchase of the Prince Hall Masonic Home located at 37th Avenue and 5th Street, Rock Island.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Quad Cities Container Terminal is being lauded as a giant business boon that will save several days and hundreds of dollars on each goods shipment to the coasts. The Quad Cities Container Terminal is the final piece of the puzzle that opens up increase access to world markets, Robert Goldstein said.








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