Granola Bars, Unwrapped
Mark Bittman. The New York Times | Updated: June 16, 2014 13:09 IST
Granola is one of those foods that is assumed to be inherently good for you, so logic suggests that granola bars are, too. Sadly, that is not necessarily the case: If you've ever looked at the label on a granola bar, you know it can contain anything from corn syrup and corn flour to chocolate chips and added coloring. Nothing that will make you sick (at least not immediately), but not exactly health food.
Enter the homemade granola bar, a combination of granola, almonds, apricots and crisp brown rice that, like granola itself, is wide open to interpretation as long as you keep the ratio of glue (the almond butter and honey mixture) to granola and mix-ins about the same.
The "secret" is the mixture of almond butter (or any nut butter you like; peanut works well, and walnut is beautiful, too) and honey (again, maple syrup will work, as will agave nectar). You toss the granola and other add-ins with this mixture, then simply press it all into a prepared baking dish. "Prepared" in this case means oiling the dish, then lining it with plastic wrap; this allows you to lift the granola bars out of the pan once they're set.
Let the mixture set in the refrigerator for an hour; it will firm up and become easy to cut into whatever shape you like. These bars are more chewy than crunchy, and they have way more flavor than store-bought versions. And less is more - without the ingredients you don't need, they're definitely a step or two closer to healthy.
Almond-apricot granola barsTime: 1 1/2 hours, largely unattended
These bars don't have to be baked; just mix the ingredients and wait for them to stick together.
1/2 cup almond butter or other nut butter
1/2 cup honey
1 cup crispy brown rice cereal
1 cup granola
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
Vegetable oil for greasing.
1. Put almond butter and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until they melt together; whisk to combine.
2. Put the crispy cereal, granola, almonds, apricots and salt in a bowl and add the mixture of almond butter and honey; stir well to combine.
3. Grease a 7- or 8-inch-square baking dish with a little oil and line it with plastic wrap. Spread the granola mixture evenly into the dish, pressing down gently, and cover with more plastic wrap; refrigerate until set, at least 1 hour. Once set, remove by lifting the edges of the plastic wrap out of the dish; peel off the plastic and cut the bars to any size you like.
Yield: about 16 to 20 granola bars.
© 2010 New York Times News Service
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