Chewy Granola Bars

 Making my own granola bars has never really been on my radar – I don’t eat them often, so why would I make my own? But in chatting with my lovely and thoughtful and smart pal Amy a few weeks back, she mentioned that “granola bar recipe from Smitten Kitchen is the best granola bars I’ve ever had, I make them as gifts all the time.” And since Amy is – as mentioned – quite brainy, I figured I’d have to add them to my to-bake list.

 

And then this week rolled around, and I was in charge of snacks for my team meeting at work. As the boss lady of this team, I’ll admit that one spot where I flex my power is that I almost never bring the snacks to our bi-monthly meeting (I figure that since I’m in charge of planning the agenda and running the thing, I get to avoid bringing snacks – obnoxious, I know). Anyway, I felt guilty about making some last-minute changes to the meeting agenda, and figured the best way to assuage my guilt was through baked goods. Obviously.

 

I have to say, these bars are basically perfect. They’re sweet, sticky, chewy, adaptable, and incredibly delicious. They’re also easy to make and pack along, and can serve as a breakfast treat or an afternoon snack. I highly encourage making them ASAP, for yourself for a snack or as a treat to bring to a group of folks.

 

 

 

I’m including my versions below, but there are plenty of adaptations that Deb from Smitten Kitchen suggests. I made two iterations: peanut butter chocolate chip and cherry almond. My only change to Deb’s recipe was to use less sugar, they’re plenty sweet with the corn syrup and add-ins.

 

 

 

Chewy Granola Bars

From Smitten Kitchen, via King Arthur Flour

 

1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 cups add ins (dried, fruits, nuts, chocolate chips, etc – a total of 10 to 15 ounces)
1/3 cup nut butter (optional)
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup honey (if necessary, slightly warmed to make it pour easily)
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon water

 

note: I made two versions of this – one with 6ish ounces of chopped, dry-roasted almonds and 8 ounces dried cherries; the other, with 1/3 cup peanut butter (added when I mixed the dry ingredients together) and 10 ounces chocolate chips

 

Preheat the oven to 350. Line an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan  with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. Lightly coat the parchment paper and the exposed pan with non-stick spray.

 

Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the add ins. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, honey, corn syrup, and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly (use a piece of plastic wrap to pat down the bars) to ensure they are molded to the  pan.

 

Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges and lightly browned on top; they may seem a little underbaked in the center but will set when cooled.

 

On a cooling rack, cool the bars in their pan completely in the pan, then put into the fridge to chill completely (I put mine in overnight and it worked well – I’m sure a few hours would be just fine too).

 

Once cool, use a knife to cut in to bars. To store, wrap the bars individually in plastic or stack them in an airtight container and store in the fridge.

 

 

 

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