Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings: "Everything" Granola Bars (Vegetarian)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Everything" Granola Bars (Vegetarian)

My first attempt at making granola bars was a few weeks ago. It went so-so - hence why I never blogged about it. The granola turned out and tasted fantastic, but it didn't really work as "bars". I pressed them, let them set, and then removed them from the pan to cut them, at which point, it all fell apart. I was a little disappointed, but it was tasty homemade granola, so I enjoyed it as is, and decided I would try again...sometime...

Time got away from me a little bit, I had other endeavors I wanted to try and honestly, I kind of forgot about them, and got into the habit of buying Herbal Oats granola bars from the farmer's market or The Root Cellar to have for work. Then last week, I picked up a granola bar from the local Uprise Bakery (where we usually get our beloved ciabatta from), and it was the best granola bar I had ever had - seriously - so good. So I saved the label with the ingredients listed on it so I could try again, this time using Uprise's combination of seeds, nuts, and other goodies.

I am happy to say that they not only set and held together, they taste almost just like the granola bars from Uprise. These are a lot cheaper than the $2.50 a pop Uprise granola bars, and I was able to use some local ingredients to make them. And we all know that local ingredients make everything better, right? :-)

I have been enjoying these for my breakfasts at work and Brett has been enjoying them at home - though it seems he is also eating them as snacks too. And Brett isn't a huge nut/seed fan, so his eating them for snacks says a lot about how good they are. I think I might start making my own granola bars for work breakfasts - at least until some California clementines become available. Between the months of November and February, Brett and I almost turn into clementines. I kid you not when I say I was bringing 6-10 to work with me a day and eating them all last year at this time. Now I know clementines are small, but that is a lot of fruit! No wonder I didn't get sick very often last winter!

There I go, off on a tangent again. You would figure I talk people's ears off - Brett yes - but pretty much everyone else gets a fairly mute Jennifer. I guess when I am typing my long-winded nature really shows through. If I wasn't so shy and didn't have such "out there" opinions, I would likely talk it up more, but alas, that is not the case, so you all get to deal with my long-winded typing.

The local booty legend:
no asterisk = grocery store
+ = The Root Cellar
++ = The Peace Nook
* = farmer's market
** = CSA
*** = Container or Community Garden
**** = the non-profit buying club, Blue Planet or Purcell Mountain Farms

"Everything" Granola Bars

1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup chopped pecans *
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 ground flax seeds
1/2 cup regular rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup honey *
1 cup smooth natural peanut butter +
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400.

Layer all the nuts and oats except the sesame seeds on a baking sheet.

Toast for 5 minutes. Shake pan and add sesame seeds.

Toast another 3-5 minutes, keep an eye on them so they don't burn.

Meanwhile, combine honey, peanut butter, vanilla, and salt over low heat in a small sauce pan.

In a large bowl, combine the dry and wet mixtures.

Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper.

Spread mixture in pan and press down firmly to get the granola to stick together.

Cool completely and cut into squares (ours made about 12).

Store in an air tight container for 3-5 days.

These rocked and have made excellent breakfasts. Yum!

'Til next time.


spelled with a K said...

my first guess at why the first batch didn't hold would be the flax seeds, they are oily as I'm sure you know, but if this batch held then I guess that wasnt the issue. Kudos!

Say you have a fellow who is not a huge fan of pecans, what would you suggest as a substitute?

Daphne said...

I've never tried making granola bars. I've made homemade granola, but never bars. Yours sound really yummy - well except the coconut. I'm one of those strange people that hate coconut (except when it is really fresh, but opening a coconut is beyond me).

miss v said...

yum! i made similar ones in a dehydrator and they held together pretty well. they weren't as thick and scrumptious as yours look, though!

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Spelled with a K - I actually didn't use flax seeds in the first batch. Our thought was that it was due to the wet to dry ratio of ingredients. I think I was using too much dry to wet.

I have a fellow nut-hater at home - but he tolerated the pecans in this. If you like walnut, peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, etc, you could substitute those for it. If you are just plain not a nut fan, and you like one of the other seeds mentioned, just use a 1/2 cup of whatever you decide would work. I think these would be excellent with hazelnuts or more sunflower seeds.

Daphne - Oh you should, seriously, if I can do it, anyone can. Haha, I'm a bit weird with coconut too. I like it when I can't taste it, which I suppose means I don't like coconut very much. :-) (You can't really taste it in these granola bars.) I actually bought a bag of coconut last year to make some rice crispy treats, and it was hanging around waiting to be used, so I used it in the granola bars (which we LOVE) and another baked good I will be blogging about later this week (which was really good too). Coconut is a tentative thing with me - like eggplant - I only like it if it is done exactly to my tastes.

Miss V - I would have never thought to use a dehydrator! Great idea. Ours hold together pretty well, you do get a little bit of crumbling, but what granola bars don't? Next I need to learn how to make crunchy granola bars!

Anonymous said...

I am glad you were able to make a granola bar that you like! And I am with you on the clementines--they are SO good! But not very local :o( I tried to curb my consumption of them last year and only ended up buying 3 or 4 of the little boxes/crates of them.

Question about your granola bars--what size pan do you press them into? A 9x13 inch cake pan?? Or something bigger? Smaller?


jessy said...

thanks for the recipe, Jennifer! sounds easy & super awesome! dan & i stopped buying granola bars because of the plastic packaging and such - we try to stay away from that. i've never attempted granola bars, but yours look so good that i've got a craving for some and now i want to make them! and i've got just about everything at home, too! maybe i'll sub brown rice syrup instead of the honey. i hope to make these soon and i'll report back and let you know how much we love them! mmmmmmmmm!

i also find it frustrating on the food labels and such. shouldn't be too much to ask - having a label stating where something is from, ya know?! drives me nuts! grrrrrrrr!

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Courtney - Me too. I know, sadly clementines are so very non-local, like my beloved avocado, so I will have to treat them as a special, well, treat.

Oh my, I am so sorry, I used an 8x8 pan. I completely forgot to put that in the recipe. I will have to fix that asap.

Jessy - No problem. I was only buying the local ones that came in compostable packaging, so it wasn't too bad, but I knew I could make homemade ones and source all the ingredients from where I wanted.

I bet brown rice syrup would work, or agave would likely work fine too. Sorry about the honey - but it is more local for me. I was wondering what these would taste like with almond butter instead of peanut. I may have to try that sometime.

It is so frustrating sometimes!

Sarah said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS RECIPE! It's so weird that I found it. I went to the farmer's market this last weekend and I bought one of these granola bars and I ate it today for breakfast. I was blown away by how amazing it was and I just had to figure out how to get more. I searched the internet hoping to just find the bakery's location and I found this recipe! EVEN BETTER! I went straight out to the store and bought all the ingredients and made them this afternoon and they turned out wonderful! I read the ingredient list wrong so I accidently used 1/2 cup flax seeds and 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds instead of 1/4 cup each. I also only had crunchy peanut butter on hand and used almonds instead of pecans. None the less they turned out great! They were a little bit crumby but probably only because of the extra 1/2 cup of ingredients I used :P I will definitely be making these again!

My only question, when I added the hot peanut butter/honey mixture to the dry ingredients all my chocolate chips melted! Does this happen to you too or is there away I can prevent this?