Thursday, March 12, 2009

Crunchy Granola

I think that Seattle has officially had its full effect on me: this weekend I made granola bars from scratch, and I have been hard pressed to think of a food that goes so well with what I have seen of Seattle: something wholesome, something that brings together a whole host of ingredients, something that one would be happy to sell at the local Farmer's Market. I think that these granola bars encompass all of these qualities, along with the most important: they are very delicious. The taste, along with the nutritional quality, make for a food that I am hard-pressed to find a comparable match for.
And even though there is a long list of ingredients, these granola bars are surprisingly simple to put together. And what comes from it is a large portion of a healthy snack or meal, depending on one's preference.

Crunchy Granola Bars

6 cups oats (quick or rolled)
½ cup vegetable oil
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup honey
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
½ cup flaked coconut
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup raisins
½ cup sunflower seeds or kernels


1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 17x11 inch rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Combine the oats, oil, and salt in a large bowl and mix until the oats are evenly coated. Transfer the mixture to a baking sheet and spread in an even layer. Toast until pale gold. Remove the oats and lower the temperature to 300 degrees F.
2. Combine the honey and brown sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. 3. Combine with the oats mixture. Add the coconut, peanut butter, raisins, and sunflower seeds. Stir everything together with a spatula. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking sheet and spread in an even layer, packing it in tightly. Bake until golden, approximately 45 minutes. Cool, in the baking sheet, on a wire rack for 10 minutes then cut into 2x3 inch bars with a chef's knife. Remove the foil from each bar and cool completely before wrapping and serving.

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