You all know I try as much as possible to make my own snack food, or at least keep it minimally-processed (as Michael Pollan says, eat all the junk food you want – as long as you make it yourself*), and one of my favorite grab-and-go snacks is the granola bar. It’s fast, keeps for a long time, comes individually-wrapped and is a healthier, more filling alternative to a bag of chips.
It also, in the case of the Quaker and Nature Valley brands, contains a variety of preservatives, artificial coloring agents, and, yes, corn syrup (check your labels: Quaker is now touting the absence of high fructose corn syrup, but still contains three different sweeteners, and only the chewy Nature Valley varieties contain this).
The point is, I had the feeling that granola bars, like cheez-its, could be made with much fewer ingredients.
I’ve tried once or twice before and have not yet succeeded — the bars didn’t succeed in sticking together into a solid mass in the oven. So this time, I was determined (which in my case means, I followed the recipe as closely as possible). I used this one for Cranberry Almond Granola Bars (my favorite dried fruit and a nut I always keep on hand).
I only made these modifications to the original recipe:
- I omitted bran flakes because I didn’t have any — I didn’t add any additional dry ingredients
- Used two tablespoons of milled flax seed rather than one each of flax and chia
- Used honey soynut butter instead of almond butter
And they worked!
I love the taste of the honey soynut butter, rather than almond butter, as it gives the granola bar a nice sweetness, rather than an overly nutty taste, though it did require some vigorous whisking to bind with the butter and maple syrup.
A few of the bars did crumble on the edges when I sliced them, but as long as they are handled somewhat gingerly, they seem to hold up just fine. A few commenters on the original blog suggested trying a thicker binding agent (such as honey in place of maple syrup), so I might try that next time.
I’ll definitely be making these in a regular rotation — they only take about ten minutes of prep, and then 25 minutes in the oven. Sure, they don’t come individually-wrapped, but a little parchment paper in a Ziploc is a sacrifice I’m willing to make to know exactly what goes into my food.
*Want to win a free copy of Michael Pollan’s new, illustrated edition of Food Rules? Stop by last week’s post and leave a comment to enter for a chance to win, as We*Meat*Again celebrates our 1000th site visit!