Monday, March 21, 2011

Roller Derby Granola Bars

The only way that these are derby bars is that I first made them to take to a Dead Girl Derby bout for the skaters, refs and staff to snack on. We get to the rink at 4 and the games start at 6, so there's no good time to eat dinner. I get hungry and then grumpy, so I can only imagine how everyone on wheels must feel.

As it turns out, homemade granola bars are easy and even more delicious than I'd expected! I didn't do the math, but they've got to be cheaper, especially if you adjust the recipe to use up whatever you have on hand like I did this time. Trust me: these are easier than they sound and so worth it.

The original recipe can be found here if you'd like to toy with it:

Chop and toast the oats, coconut and whatever nuts you're using. My husband hates coconut, so when I make him his own granola bars soon, I'll leave it out. I happen to love coconut.

While the dry ingredients are toasting in the oven, melt your honey, butter and brown sugar on the stove. I didn't measure my honey because a) I hate measuring sticky things and b) I had what looked like the right amount needing to be finished off in an old bottle anyway.

No, I didn't melt the head of the honey bear in the microwave. Why would you know to ask?

Moving on...

Mix dried fruit (I had some old craisins and bought some dried sweet cherries) and ground flax seed. The original recipe called for wheat germ. Not only am I not sure what wheat germ is, I knew that if I bought it, it would just sit in the back of my fridge with my bag of ground flax seeds. And flax seeds have a cool texture and taste, as well as Omega 3s. I liked how these turned out so much that I will continue to use flax seeds on purpose, at least until I run out.

Dried cherries are amazing! I bought these in the bulk section of Whole Foods, but I'm pretty sure most grocery stores carry these. You could use raisins if you're not strangely opposed to them like I am.

Toasted oaty goodness!

Turn the oven down from 350 degrees to 300.

Mix your toasted dry ingredients with your other dry ingredients.

Mix in your honeyed happiness.

Holy crap--I got an action shot for once!

Mix it all up. Try not to eat it now. Because then you'd get your germs in your fellow derby girls' food, and that would be gross.

Okay, get a clean spoon and eat some now. It's so worth it! When I make these for myself, I'm digging in a little.

Dump the mixed granola goo back into your lined pan. I used approximately a 10x10 dish, but I think you could use a 9x9 for thick bars or a 9x13 for thin ones if you'd rather.

Push it all down into the pan. I used the back of the spatula I'd been stirring with. And then I licked that baby clean.

Walk away for hours. Preferably leave the house or you'll pick at it. My temptation was lowered after I left for a while. Then I worried that maybe Frostbite had eaten them. But he's a good dog and didn't do that.

Then bake them.

When they're cool and dry, they should pop out with just a little effort. Use a big, sharp knife to cut them into as many pieces as you want. I think I got 18 granola bars out of this. And I may or may not have eaten three myself. (Sorry, hungry derby girls!)

Because I wanted these to be single-serve, I packaged them in snack-size Ziploc bags. Normally, I'd use a big Tupperware container or just put the lid on whatever I baked these in. Knowing me and as hungry as I've been since I started skating, these won't last me long.

It's a good thing I'm active because--in case you haven't noticed--I really love food.

Make these yourself! Choose your nuts, fruits and extras based on what you like or need to use up from your pantry.

Homemade Granola Bars
(makes about 15)

2 cups oats (not quick-cooking)
1 cup chopped raw cashews (or any nuts)
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup ground flax seed
3 tablespoons butter (I used unsalted)
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt (I used kosher)
1/2 cup dried cherries (or any dried fruit)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (maybe try chocolate chips?)

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a baking dish (9x9 up to 9x13) and line it with parchment paper.
2. Mix oats, nuts, and coconut in baking dish and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Dump cooked oat mixture to a large mixing bowl and add flax seeds.
4. Reduce the oven temperature to 300.
5. Melt butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute. (I forgot to time this, but something close will probably help these set properly.)
6. Pour honey mixture over oat mixture. Add dried fruit and stir well.
7. Dump granola back into the prepared pan. Press the mixture evenly into the pan with a spatula.
8. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown.
9. Cool for at least 2 hours before cutting into squares.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

This is great because I just started making my own oatmeal to save money, now I can try granola bars too. Kel, you are suck a dork, you crack me up!