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Granola Bar…Fail?

October 29, 2010

Happy Friday! I know I say it every week, but…thank goodness for the weekend!

Ryan actually just left to drive down to DC for the night.  He’s attending the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert rally tomorrow.  It actually kind of qualifies as “work,” because he’s hoping to get some sort of article out of it.  A large part of his dissertation was about irony and politicians, so this fits right in!

Anyway, along with the car ride down, he’ll be standing around a lot tomorrow, so I thought it would be nice to send him off with a transportable snack! Enter: the granola bar.

I’ve made granola before using Alton Brown’s recipe, and it is dang good.  However, I’ve never attempted to make granola bars.  While I love Alton’s recipe for granola, it is very crunchy, and when it comes to granola bars (and baked goods in general), I’m a big fan of chew. Rather than follow a recipe, I decided to venture out on my own and do a little recipe experimenting.  The result?  Not exactly a success…but not a fail either! Keep reading, and I’ll explain.

For my bars, I decided to try two different flavors.  I’ll give you the basic granola bar recipe I used first, and then explain the add-ins!

Basic Granola Bar “Dough”


1 cup ground oats (I used my Vita-Mix, but you could also use a food processor)

2 cups whole oats

4 tbsp. melted butter

1/4 cup brown rice syrup (you could also use honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar)

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp. salt

1/4 cup apple sauce (unsweetened)


Mix all ingredients until completely blended.

Couldn’t be easier!

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At this point, I divided the “dough” into two batches.  One would be pumpkin spice, and the other would be chocolate, cherry, and pecan.

For the pumpkin spice bars, to the basic dough, I added 1/4 cup of pumpkin, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ginger, and 1/2 tsp. nutmeg. 

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*Now*—here’s where I might differentiate from the actual recipe.  These bars were tasty, but they weren’t as sweet as you might expect.  If you wanted a sweeter pumpkin spice bar, I’d suggest adding another 1/4 of a cup of brown sugar to this batch.

For the other batch, I simply mixed in 1/3 cup each of dried cherries, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and chopped pecans.

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*Again*—I would do this a little differently next time, and chop the cherries up before I added them in.  The chopped pecans and chocolate chips did okay, but the cherries seemed to have trouble sticking to the oats after they baked, and I think this might be what caused the bars to fall apart.

Once I’d added the mix-ins, I pressed each batch into a parchment paper-covered 8×8 baking pan.  I lightly sprayed the parchment paper with cooking spray before pressing the granola down.

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Each pan went into the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. 

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SO…in the end, the pumpkin bars stuck together, but were a little less sweet than expected, and the chocolate/cherry/pecan bars crumbled after cooking, but tasted AWESOME.  Here they are:

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Crumbly, but delicious:

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Pumpkin spice:

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Chocolate Cherry Pecan granola bite:

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And finally, all wrapped up and ready to travel to DC:

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Ryan said he was going to give one to Jon Stewart.  🙂

After all of my bar sampling this morning (I had to taste each one multiple times throughout the process…for quality control, obviously), I was ready for a healthy lunch:

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Avocado, hummus, and spinach on Ezekial bread, plus a side of apple slices.

Plus a few granola bites…I just couldn’t resist.  😉

I’m off to run some errands and then…who knows? Maybe I’ll work on another batch of granola bars, just for the heck of it!

Have a great Friday!

15 Comments leave one →
  1. October 29, 2010 6:08 pm

    Well, at least they taste good, right? Honestly with those flavors, you can’t go wrong! I hope Ryan has a safe trip. Enjoy your afternoon Anna!

  2. October 29, 2010 6:11 pm

    A bunch of my friends are going to that rally tomorrow. Sorry the bars fell apart, but the most important thing is they tasted good!

  3. October 29, 2010 6:38 pm

    If it tastes good, it doesn’t matter what they look like 🙂 The pumpkin spice ones would definitely be my favorite!!

  4. October 29, 2010 6:52 pm

    These look so good – I always manage to have really brown/burnt granola. It think its my oven!

  5. October 29, 2010 6:57 pm

    I also like my bars to have a good amount of “chew,” so I think these sound great – especially if I make the changes you suggested. So cool that Ryan’s going to the rally tomorrow!

  6. October 29, 2010 7:22 pm

    i’m all about flavor…who cares if they stay together?! 🙂

  7. October 29, 2010 7:40 pm

    Sounds like you had fun experimenting!! I’ve never made my own granola bars, but I imagine they’re fun to make! Even if they don’t hold together, you know they’re going to taste good! YUM. 😉

  8. October 29, 2010 9:10 pm

    You’re such a good wifey! I’m sure he appreciates that! They look great! Good for you, winging it in the kitchen!

  9. Ginger permalink
    October 29, 2010 9:45 pm

    Oh, I’m green with jealousy that he is going to that rally! You know, we talked about it, but I didn’t know he was getting to go. Lucky guy! Did you see Obama on the Jon Stewart show this week? If not, go on YouTube and check it out. Funny stuff. Those granola bars look really good!

  10. October 29, 2010 10:36 pm

    Pumpkin spice!? Those sound great.

  11. October 29, 2010 10:44 pm

    Taste is all that matters anyway ;). Your post just reminded me that I need to make some granola bars too (ones that you don’t have to keep in the freezer lol).

  12. October 29, 2010 11:25 pm

    i have 2 recipes on my site

    one for Vegan Granola and I explain in the recipe to underbake for granola bars, overbake for crumbly granola. I always make it underbaked and do bars 🙂

    and also a recipe for No Bake Granola Bars. Freezer, done. Easy.

    That said…I think with a lil tweaking you can totally ROCK the recipes you just made….they look amazing!!!!!!

  13. October 30, 2010 1:02 am

    Interesting. I’ve only tried granola once. At least it tasted good!

  14. Kristi permalink
    October 30, 2010 1:08 am

    Yum! If you did these in Demarle, you wouldn’t need the parchment or spray. I’ll give it a try.

  15. October 30, 2010 12:55 pm

    Very sweet of you to make a batch of bars for the man for his trip! Can I suggest this recipe:

    375 for ~26 minutes. Let them cool completely then cut. Deliciousness.

    And that is definitely an awesome lunch. I can’t get enough apples in right now 🙂

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