Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Need breakfast?

The pig and the chicken were on their way to breakfast, trying to decide what to have. 

When chicken said, ''Let's have ham and eggs.'' 

The pig then replied, ''That's fine for you, it's a small donation on your part, but it's a total sacrifice for me.''

Oh my, I know that was a horrible joke. If it were up to my children, every morning, breakfast would consist of bacon, dip eggs (sunny-side up), and toast.  However, I have a small problem: I love sleep.  Cooking elaborate breakfasts would require me to get up much earlier than I wish.  So, we save fun breakfast foods for Saturday brunches and occasional suppers.
I like to have nourishing breakfast items that can be made ahead of time and enjoyed at the table or on the go.  These granola bars completely fit the bill!   They are packed with nutritional goodness.  I don't even have to be sneaky about the healthy ingredients because the taste is so delicious, the kids eat them right up!

This recipe is courtesy of the Smitten Kitchen --she is a genius!

Thick, Chewy Granola Bars

Adapted from King Arthur Flour
 This is probably the most flexible recipe I’ve posted. When it comes to granola, what you’re looking for is a basic proportion of chunky (nuts, dried fruit) to sticky (syrups, sugar, butter or oils) and from there, you can really go to town. The vanilla is optional. The cinnamon is optional. You can use no dried fruit or you can use all dried fruit in your 2 to 3 cup mix. You can toss in things like puffed rice cereal or flax seeds. In the comments, I’d love to hear what mix you came up with and how you liked it. I can only imagine the possibilities.
Of note: The original recipe calls for something called “sticky bun sugar” which can be made at home with sugar, butter and corn syrup. It is for this reason that corn syrup is listed within one ingredient but also separately, and I used all butter rather than two different fats. Whether the corn syrup can be entirely replaced with honey or maple syrup or the butter can be entirely replaced with a healthier oil is worth auditioning, I just didn’t. Yet. I can tell you this: as is, this is the best granola bar I’ve ever eaten.

1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats
1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar (*I used 1/2 c. organic dehydrated cane juice)
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 (*I used 1 tsp)
2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts (*I used dried cranberries, raisins, dried apricots, coconut, and pecans)
1/3 cup peanut butter or another nut butter (*I used almond butter) (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional, namely because I was not convinced that the flavor came through)
6 tablespoons melted butter (*I used 4 tablespoons of butter)
1/4 cup honey, maple syrup or corn syrup (*I used honey)
2 tablespoons light corn syrup (see Note above)
1 tablespoon water
(*I also added 1/2 c. flaxseed)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. 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.
Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter or oil, liquid sweeteners and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry (and peanut butter, if you’re using it) 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.)
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.
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.)
Once cool, a serrated knife (or bench knife) to cut the bars into squares. 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.

*changes I made
Yum!  These also go perfectly with a nice cup of hot coffee!

What do you like to eat for breakfast?


Katie@The Baby Factory said...

Traditionallllly, I would hesitant about this, but that looks amazing!! Seriously, I think my boys {okay, Hayden} would LOVE that!

Christine Poole said...

We love Egg-chaladas... (I don't know how to spell that?) scrambled eggs with cheese and tomatoes in a tortilla. Yum!!!

Amanda said...

Londa.. you just might have convinced me to try this!! I have never made granola, but my kids LOVE bars. ANd the all natural organic bars I but them are almost $4 a box! So this would be a fantastic option!