Monday, October 24, 2011

My newest obsession.. one of them

I have completely fallen in love with making granola bars. Every Sunday I look ahead at the week to see what kinds of food we have in the fridge, and plan a couple of meals for those nights when my brain cells are minimal.  I also throw together a batch of granola for quick easy breakfasts or snacks.  With anything, it gets  better with time and each batch is tastier than the last. The base is always the same, however each kind definitely has its own unique flavor and texture. Pumpkin Granola is soft- almost like a cookie. Cocoa Coffee granola is crunchy. Fruit and nut is pretty standard chewy granola.  No matter what flavor variety or texture it is awesome knowing what each ingredient is (and how to pronounce it).  
The base for it all starts with

3  cup old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups Brown Rice Cereal- think  Rice Crispies but Brown.
1 1/2 cups Millet cereal
1/2 chopped almonds/ raw unsalted cashew mix
1 cup dried fruit (cherries are awesome!)
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup + an extra tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup (extra full) brown rice syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup almond butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoon cinnamon (I love cinnamon, if you aren't a fan use less)
dusting of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper.  Mix 1st 7 ingredients in mixer.  Heat and stir together remaining ingredients, and add to the dry ingredients.  Press evenly  into pan, and bake for 20-23 minutes.  Once finished, let it cool and cut into squares.

For different variations add ingredients to either dry mix or the melted mixture.  Make them your own! You can change up the nuts, dried fruits, and flavors to create any combo you'd like!

Cocoa coffee- I added 2 Tbsp Dark chocolate cocoa powder and 1/4 cup decaf instant coffee into melted mixture before pouring it on. I LOVED them, however hubby wasn't as big of a fan. I could munch on chocolate covered espresso beans all day though.

Peanut butter granola- I added a 1/2 cup of peanut butter, and cut the almond butter down to 1/4 cup.  It was very tasty, but very crumbly.

Pumpkin- add 1/4 cup pumpkin puree to melted ingredients.  Make sure to add 1/2 cup extra oats to dry ingredients to help balance out the wetness of the pumpkin.

I store these in an air tight container on the counter for the week. We are lucky if they aren't all gone by Friday!

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