Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Real Deal Granola Bars

The Altitude Adjustment Section
Being that we ate in a real “health food” establishment this week, it got me thinking about hippy foods and tree hugging and Patchouli oil and, of course: granola. Real granola is delicious and nutritious and doesn’t need to be like a dry brick, or be chocolate coated, or have a layer of marshmallow fluff for the kids to eat it. What kids? Do I have kids? I don’t think so. But anyway here is a great recipe for a snack you can take with you hiking or you can sneak it into the movies instead of paying for a 2-pound bag of gummy worms.

3/4 cups (6 ounces) brown sugar
3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter melted
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup dried cranberries or golden raisins
1 cup chopped dried apricots
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 450. Lightly grease an 18 x 13 inch half-sheet pan. Combine brown sugar, butter, syrups, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil and boil for 5 minutes till mixture reaches 250 degrees on a candy thermometer. While the sugar is boiling, combine oats, almonds sunflower seeds and coconut on prepared sheet pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes stirring every 4-5 minutes so nothing gets burnt. Pour oat mixture into a bowl and add all dried fruit. Add vanilla extract to the syrup mixture and pour over nut and fruit mixture. Once well-combined, put mixture back onto sheet pan and pat flat. Be firm — it needs to be compressed. Now bake for 6-8 minutes, till it bubbles a little bit around the edges and starts to lightly brown. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes and cut into strips while still warm. I use a bakers bench knife or you can use a big cleaver. Remove from pan and then cut into strips. Wrap in plastic so the lint in your backpack doesn’t stick to them.