October 5, 2010
Amanda had the very special honor of having the first birthday in her class this year. AND she was the first to turn SIX! Life is so good in Kindergarten! Of course we wanted to take a treat to class to celebrate her big day.
Although cupcakes weren’t specifically banned, we were encouraged to bring something a bit healthier – popcorn, fruit or maybe a non-food item. I had been wanting to try Ina Garten’s homemade granola bars recipe for ages, and this seemed like my perfect opportunity.
I tweaked the recipe a bit – I added chocolate chips to made the bars a bit more celebratory. I reduced the sugar and baking time. They turned out great! But the idea that these bars are “healthy” might be a stretch…I’d say candy bars with a conscience! They were pretty yummy!
For serving, I made little envelopes out of colorful craft paper
Pre-heat oven to 350◦FNon-stick vegetable oil spray 2 cups of old fashioned oats ½ cup sliced almonds 1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut, loosely packed ½ toasted wheat germ 3 tbsp unsalted butter 2/3 cup honey ¼ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract ¼ teaspoon kosher salt ½ cup dried cherries 1 cup chocolate chips
Spray an 8×12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper – then SPRAY THE PAPER AGAIN. I didn’t do this the first time and the paper stuck.
Toss the oatmeal, almonds and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.
Reduce oven temperature to 300◦F
Place butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dried cherries and chocolate chips. Stir well.
Pour the mixture in the prepared pan. Use a spatula or your fingers (careful its hot!) to lightly press the mixture into the pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or longer for crunchier bars. Cool for 2-3 hours or over-night, then cut into bars.
Have I taken this granola thing too far???