Sunday, March 31, 2013

Nutty Coconut Granola Bars

I've been meaning to try to make my own granola from scratch for a while now, but for some reason it always seemed so intimidating. Part of it had to do with the massive amounts of sugar involved. I just can't get myself to make something with over a cup of sugar in it. I have no problem consuming mass quantities of store-bought items, like the ridiculously sweet GF toaster pastry that I bought and devoured because I hadn't had one in ten years. To be honest, it wasn't even that good.

The difference here is that I have no choice but to look at the ingredients because I'm making it. I can't hide and pretend it doesn't exist. 

This morning, I found a great recipe with loads of helpful pictures on The Pioneer Woman Cooks site.  And once again, I couldn't add the cup of brown sugar. I had the brown sugar ready to pour, shook the bag a little, and then stopped and put the bag away. 

The recipe below is what I came up with. It's still got plenty of sugar, so I wouldn't go and call it a health bar, but I felt a little better about myself as I helped myself to the second bar. One does have to taste test. There's still plenty of butter and honey in there to make it crunchy and sweet.

Oh, and the ginger beer was totally an accident. The original recipe called for apple juice, but I didn't have any. I happened to be drinking some ginger beer, so I just poured it in and hoped for the best. It fizzed a little in the saucepan, but that was about all the excitement it provided. 

This was so easy that I have sworn off ever buying my own granola bars ever again. Plus I feel better about myself for making myself a somewhat healthy snack.  

Nutty Coconut Granola Bars

6 cups gluten-free rolled oats
4 Tablespoons butter, melted (I used Earth Balance)
1/4 cup rice bran oil
3/4 cup honey
1/4 cup Reed's Extra Ginger Brew
1/4 cup molasses
2 tbsp brown rice syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pistachios
1/2 cup chopped almonds
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup coconut flakes

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Stir the oil and melted butter into the oats. Spread the mixture on two baking sheets and toast for 15-20 minutes.

Combine the sugar, honey, molasses, brown rice syrup, and ginger beer in a saucepan on low heat and stir until it is all nicely melted together. Add the vanilla.

Combine all the other dry ingredients and toss together in a large bowl. Add the wet ingredients. Stir.

Spread everything out onto a well-greased cookie sheet, pressing down firmly and reshaping when necessary. Bake for 20 minutes or until the granola is golden brown. Let it cool.

Here's the fun part. Take a large knife and cut the granola bars into whatever sizes you want. You can eat the bits that break off or save them for cereal.
Eric demos the knife.
I did manage to save some of the leftover bits for cereal, even with all the taste-testing. 


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