The Baking Illustrated Challenge: Crunchy Granola Bars

mmm I love granola! I love eating it in cereal, yogurt, with fruit, or as a snack all by its lonesome. I was able to make a quarter batch and freeze most of it. However, you could make a whole batch and freeze it. Make sure that the granola is packed down before you bake it..this makes a difference! I used all three types of nuts (walnuts, almonds, and pecans) , and they were delightful! Personally, now that I know how easy it is to make granola I do not buy the pre-packaged granola bars or cereals anymore! I love knowing what is in my food. Also, by making it myself I have saved not only money, but all the cardboard/ packaging materials that end up in the trash! So, go be green and make granola 😉 .

Source: Baking Illustrated

Section: Cookies, Brownies, and Bar Cookies

Crunchy Granola Bars

7 cups old fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups whole almonds, pecans, or walnuts

3/4 cup honey

3/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

1 T vanilla extract

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (optional)

1 Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line an 18 by 12 inch rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Combine the oats, oil , and salt in a large bowl and mix until the oats are evenly coated. Transfer the mixture to the baking sheet (save the mixing bowl for use in step 3) and spread into an even layer. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, until pale gold, about 30 minutes. remove the oats and lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees.

2. Place the nuts in a food processor and process until coarsely chopped, about ten 1-second pulses. Place 3/4 cup of the nuts in a small bowl and process the remaining nuts until finely ground, 20 to-30 seconds. Add the finely ground nuts to the bowl with the coarsely chopped nuts and set aside. Combine the honey and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar is fully dissolved, about 5 minutes. Stir in vanilla and cinnamon, if using, and set aside.

3. Combine the oats, nuts, and honey mixture in a large bowl and stir with a large rubber spatula until the oats are evenly coated with the honey mixture. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking sheet and spread in an even layer. Wet the spatula with water and forcefully pack the mixture into a very flat, tight, even layer. Bake until golden, about 45-50 minutes. Cool, in the baking sheet, on a wire rack for 10 minutes and cut into 2 by 3 inch bars with a chef’s knife. Remove the foil from each bar before serving. Cool completely before wrapping and storing.




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