All grains contain peptides that mimic morphine or endogenous opioid substances. This is where I deal with my latest loaf craving. Get your bread-based exorphin fix here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Granola Bar with Chocolate Cranberries

 Granola Bar with Chocolate Cranberries

Of all the granola bar recipes I've tried (and there haven't been many others, yet, because I keep coming back to this one), this recipe is by far the best.  I've made these granola bars before and every time they are different and every time they are a success.  Girli Chef's original recipe allows for variation.  I've made:
This version uses chocolate cranberries.  There are not too many, but I will call the choc-cranberries the defining feature of this particular instance of the recipe.

I found these chocolate cranberries at the bulk section of a local store, and bought them intending to put them into a granola bar.  But they have been inexplicably dwindling, they are so snackable.  By the time I got around to putting them in a recipe, they only amounted to just over 1/4 cup.

There are other variations here to the original recipe.  To quickly tell the story: I've used only 1/2 c of whole wheat flour, but I added 1/4 c of whole spelt flour.  I didn't find any nutmeg, but I used some ginger instead.  Instead of almond extract, I've used vanilla extract.  I used two eggs instead of one.  And my 2 cups of assorted 'goodies' were:
  • Coconut
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pine nuts
  • Chocolate cranberries
  • Millet
  • Poppy Seed
  • Hazelnuts
There was 1/4 cup of each, except there was 1/2 cup of the hazelnuts.

Finally, perhaps the biggest difference was methodological: I poured it into a 9x9 pan, which made for a thicker bar.  I pressed it down with a spatula, and with 2 eggs it really seemed to hold together better.

I like to flash freeze these things after they are cut, so I will have them available to take to work.

No word on how it tastes yet.  I didn't have to nibble one right away.  After all, I had a few left-over chocolate cranberries.

Notes to Myself
  • Here is the entire recipe for today's version. I didn't weigh anything, and sometimes I didn't even measure anything. I like that about this recipe, it goes together quickly, and you don't have to guess whether you're doing it right. There are no hard and fast rules. If you like a certain grain, put it in.  Everything gets mixed together by hand, first the dry then the wet ingredients.  Then it is pressed down in a 9x9 pan, that has been greased, then papered, then greased again, and baked at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes (I figured that with the extra thickness of this particular bar, it would need the longest time for the bake):
    • Rolled oats 2 c
    • Whole wheat flour 1/2 c
    • Spelt flour 1/4 c
    • Brown Sugar 3/4 c
    • Wheat germ 1/2 c
    • Flaxseed Meal 1/4 c
    • Kosher Salt ~2 tsp
    • Ginger ~ 2 tsp
    • Coconut oil 1/2 c
    • Honey 1/4 c
    • Eggs 2
    • Vanilla extract ~1 tsp
    • Goodies: total 2 c:
      • Coconut 1/4 c
      • Sunflower seeds 1/4 c
      • Pine nuts 1/4 c
      • Chocolate cranberries 1/4 c
      • Millet 1/4 c
      • Poppy Seed 1/4 c
      • Hazelnuts 1/2 c
  • For the next variation: try using wheat flakes, rye flakes, spelt flakes or kamut flakes in place of some of the rolled oats.  These are available at the nearby Arva Flour Mill and are quite reasonable, I think.
  • I was worried that the chocolate from the cranberries would melt and make this bar overly sticky, but they seem to have held their shape fairly well.
  • What other herbs and spices could you use?  I was thinking of Turmeric for its healthful benefits, but really, the sky is the limit.  Check out a list of culinary herbs and spices at Wikipedia, and root through your herb cupboard and start using what is available.  It is nearing Hallowe'en, so why not try a bar with real pumpkin and allspice and nutmeg?
  • Can you cut back on the brown sugar and still have a bar that holds together?

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