So what do you do if you followed my advice and made 10, even 20, cups of my homemade holiday granola? Make homemade granola bars.
With an 8-cup Ball jar filled with my latest batch of granola and sitting on my counter—with my barely making a dent in it eating 1/4 cup at a time with milk—I began worrying that the granola might not keep as long as I had been planning on having it around . I also had been brainstorming different ways to eat it, as I like having a spoonful before I head out on my morning runs. Then it came to me: granola bars!
I looked up a number of recipes, finally settling on no-bake instructions since I’d already cooked the granola once. I settle, oddly enough, on a recipe from NPR (which I had never considered a cooking resource).
The recipe (posted in full below) called for a mix of granola and puffed wheat plus 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, 3 tablespoons peanut butter and 8 tablespoons (or half a cup of) honey . For the puffed wheat, I hit the jackpot spotting a box of Kashi 7 Whole Grain Puffs cereal. I mixed 1-1/2 cups granola with 1-1/2 cups puffs and set aside. Then, I warmed the extract (accidentally grabbing the almond instead of vanilla but to delish results), 3 tablespoons peanut butter, and 4 tablespoons honey, as I thought eight was a bit outrageous.
I learned the honey is key. After mixing the dry and wet ingredients and putting them in a pan in the fridge for an hour as directed, I had what I dubbed sticky granola, not granola bars. Nevertheless, this sticky mix made a great snack when Rob and I went skiing (him) and snowboarding (me) at Squaw Valley on Saturday. Granola bars would have been better—as I definitely dropped some loose bits on the floor while riding the funitel—but it was a delicious, reenergizing snack.
The next day, however, I decided to turn the sticky granola into actual granola bars by adding the extra honey. I warmed another 3 tablespoons (we’d eaten enough while skiing to reduce the four missing tablespoons to three), stirred the sticky granola in a bowl, and then stirred in the honey. I pressed the mix back into the pan (which was covered with plastic wrap to keep the bars from sticking to the bowl and to keep the bowl from being a mess to clean, a genius recipe suggestion) and stuck it in the fridge again.
Ta da! Granola bars! They hold together quite nicely—and now do make an excellent pre-morning-run pick-me-up. The only thing I’m hoping to amend with the next batch is the sweetness. The 8 tablespoons honey certainly made the granola and puffs stick together but it makes them a bit too sweet for me. So, if you have any suggestions or any other recipes to recommend for holding granola and puffs together, please do leave a comment!
Homemade Granola Bars
(adapted from No-Bake Granola Bars, posted on NPR)
1-1/2 cups Miyoko’s Homemade Holiday Granola
1-1/2 cups puffed wheat (Kashi’s 7 Whole Grain Puffs cereal is a great option)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
3 tablespoons peanut butter
8 tablespoons honey
Mix granola and puffs in a bowl; set aside. In a small saucepan, warm extract, peanut butter, and honey until smooth. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Line an 8-inch-by-8-inch pan with plastic wrap. Pour granola bar mix into pan and press down. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour. Cut into bars. Enjoy!