janet @ the taste space

Thick, Chewy Cranberry Granola Bars

In Desserts on August 13, 2010 at 6:08 AM

With a few long-distance cycling trips already under my belt this summer, I oftentimes feel like I am eating to bike. I routinely make my own sports drink and have made different portable snacks for my rides: peanutty energy bars, cocoa mint nibbles and almond chocolate larabars. Next up in my arsenal of snacks: homemade granola bars.

I have been making my own granola for some time, but had yet to venture into making granola bars. The thick and chewy granola bars posted by Smitten Kitchen (who, in turn, found and adapted it from King Arthur Flour) called out to me since she posted them in February. I bought oat flour immediately (back when I didn’t have a food processor) but it took me almost 6 months to finally buckle down and make them. What happened? Well, life (in a good way), and I was shunning desserts for a while. Thank goodness I bike now so I can enjoy these guilt-free. 😉

These were subtly addictive. Chewy yet firm, oaty and wholesome, sweet from cranberries and with a strong peanut flavour. You munch on a chewy bar and think to yourself, ‘Is this what granola bars taste like?’  It is miles away from what you get in a store. Deb leaves the recipe completely flexible, with substitutions for the nuts, fruit and nut butter, and I have included my own interpretation below. I was surprised at the strong presence of the peanut butter flavour, so I may decrease it next time or switch it to almond butter which I think would work better with the cranberries. Otherwise, I went with my granola staples of dried cranberries, coconut and almonds. I found coconut chips at Bestwin which are like large coconut flakes. I liked the burst of coconut flavour but found they didn’t integrate with the bars as well; they left the bars more apt to crumble mid-bite. Next time, I’ll stick with my flaked coconut for the granola bars and use the coconut flakes for my crumbly granola.

This is my second submission to this week’s BSI, featuring flour (this time with oat flour), and to Blog Bites #6, potluck-style, hosted by One Hot Stove.

Thick, Chewy Cranberry Granola Bars

1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats
1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar (use more for a sweetness akin to most purchased bars; use less for a mildly sweet bar)
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1/3 cup peanut butter or another nut butter (or less, optional)
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup honey, maple syrup or corn syrup
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon water

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. Lightly grease the parchment paper and the exposed pan, or coat with a non-stick spray.

2. Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, melt the peanut butter if using, and whisk together the vanilla, melted butter or oil, liquid sweeteners and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan. (A piece of plastic wrap can help with this, as you press down on the back of it.)

3. Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges — don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops too. They’ll still seem soft and almost underbaked when you press into the center of the pan but do not worry, they’ll set completely once completely cool.

4. Cool the bars in their pan completely on a cooling rack. (Alternately, after about 20 minutes you can use your parchment “sling” to lift and remove the bars, and place them in their paper on the rack to cool the rest of the way. This can speed the process up.)

5. Once cool, a serrated knife (or bench knife) to cut the bars into squares.  If bars seem crumbly, chill the pan of them further in the fridge for 30 minutes which will fully set the “glue”, then cut them cold. To store, wrap the bars individually in plastic or stack them in an airtight container. In humid weather, it’s best to store bars in the refrigerator. They also freeze well.

Makes 16 bars.

  1. Yay for coconut and yay for life (in a good way)!

  2. You had me salivating until I came to the coconut part! I may just skip that ingredient as I love all the others… it has made it on my to do list as well. BTW, the wheatberry citrus salad is coming up again this weekend as it is one of my special favorites that I have from Saveur.

    Keep the good stuff coming.

  3. Great BSI entry! And two at that – thanks for participating this week!

    I just made an apple tart for my entry, but if I have time this weekend, I hope to make jalapeno cheddar bagels!

    Have a great Friday!

  4. Looks so gud n perfect….yummy

  5. I love getting your subscription in my email with a new exciting recipe. Your pictures are fantastic and all your recipes are simple to follow. Making them so they are printable is extra convenient. I love this cranberry granola recipe. I will be trying it this weekend.
    Thank you for sharing and starting this amazing blog.
    carol gourley

    • Thank you so much for the kind words, Carol. 🙂 Please let me know hw you like the granola.

      • You are welcome and I will let you know about those granola bars. Good for gardening on your patio. It’s amazing what and where you can grow. I’l like to see some recipes from the things you have grown….have a great weekend 🙂

  6. I too bookmarked Deb’s recipe for granola bars but haven’t tried them yet. Your version looks superb and I bet they’d be really good with some dark chocolate added. Thanks for another great submission!

  7. […] Taste Space also sent in this recipe for Thick, Chewy Granola Bars which uses oat flour.  I made some granola bars with homemade oat flour several months ago and I […]

  8. Granola isn’t just for Breakfast ……

    I liked your entry and I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog! JB…

  9. Oh man this looks delicious! And your photographs are beautiful! Everything here looks great!
    I recently launched my own blog, I’d love for you to check it out and let me know what you think! 🙂 Thanks!

  10. […] peddling over 4000-km on my bike this year, I guess I don’t exercise enough to get bored of the high energy snacks. Oats and dates have played prominent roles in many of the snacks, but I […]

  11. […] Bars! I had been pining the recipe even before I had my dehydrator, actually.  I’ve made granola bars before, but those had refined sugars and butter. I’ve also made oodles of raw energy treats, but […]

  12. […] Thick, Chewy Cranberry Granola Bars […]

  13. Ahh, these look soooooo delicious! So glad I found your site through the FBC group ❤

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