Crunchy Granola Bites (or Sweet Bribe)
July 7, 2011 @ 17:47:pm
I remember the first time I’ve bribed my kid with food. I might have slightly overreacted and called my husband saying that I’m the worst parent in be world. My dear husband suggested that it might be a good idea to keeps things in proportion and our child will probably not grow to use food as reward because of this lollipop. Since then, I had to resort to these little bribes a “few” more times. Frankly, I don’t know a parent, that doesn’t. I do however try to make my snacks as healthy as possible. So our lollops are organic and enriched with vitamin C (and fully endorsed by our pediatrician. Hooray!), our goldfish are baked, and our granola bars are usually home made. Last week I tried a new recipe and I simply had to share it.
In general, granola recipes are very flexible- just keep the basic proportion of chunky to sticky and have fun with it! For my granola, I used butter and maple syrup for the sticky part and sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, apricots,cherries and prunes for the chunky part. I also used wheat germ for the first time. Prior to this recipe,I knew nothing of wheat germ. Apparently, this thing is ridiculously healthy. First of all, to curb my (and maybe yours) imagination, the word “germ” does’nt have anything to do with bacteria; it simply refers to germination. I’ve also learned, that wheat germ is one of the most nutritional products available and contains more nutrients per ounce than any other vegetable or grain. It’s very high in protein, contains potassium and iron and various vitamins. In short, it’s very very good for you. And if you’re still not convinced, it adds sweetness and almost nutty flavor to the dish that is not too overpowering. Seriously, with all my picky eaters, I considering using it instead of salt 😉
Since it was my first time trying this particular recipe, I was afraid to omit the sugar completely, instead, I used one table spoon, as opposed to ¼ cup. But honestly,if you use sweet dried fruit, i don’t think you need to add sugar at all.
After my granola was baked, I let it cool and simply crumbled it to pieces in various sizes. It’s great as a snack, or you can crumble it into some plain yogurt.
Crunchy Granola Bites (adopted from Alton Brown)
* approximately 2 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats
* approximately 1/2 cup of raw sunflower seeds
* approximately 1 cup of sliced almonds,
* approximately 1/2 cup of wheat germ,
* approximately 1/2 cup of real maple syrup
* 1 tbsp of dark brown sugar
* 2 tbsp unsalted butter, plus extra for the pan
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* chopped dried fruit,(I used handful of each -apricots,cherries and prunes )
* Line a baking pan in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. (I used a 9 by 12 baking pan and got thin bars) Lightly grease the parchment paper . Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
* Spread the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, and wheat germ onto a separate half-sheet pan. Place in the oven and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
* In the meantime, combine the maple syrup, brown sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook a few minutes until the brown sugar has completely dissolved.
* Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees F. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine. Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish (resist the temptation to lick the spoon, the mixture is hot!). Press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish. The mixture is hot, so cover it with parchment paper and use a cup to press it down.
* Place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut and store in an airtight container for up to a week. Or store in the freezer, that way they’ll stay the most crisp, as granola tends to soften at room temperature.