Ina’s Granola Bars

Anyone who really knows me knows I love me a little Ina Garten.  The woman is the ultimate food snob and I just love it!  (Don’t use just any old vanilla, use pure Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla!)  On a random day off I watched her make granola bars and, while it took me 6 months to get around to it, I finally did it about two months ago and haven’t bought a granola bar since.  I’ve learned a few things along the way, and would absolutely recommend that you give these a try.  AWESOME!

Ina’s original recipe can be found here.  If you couple it with a few tips and tricks I’ve figured out (see below), your granola bar success is 100% guaranteed.

Also, try mixing your dried fruits.  As long as it adds up to 1 1/2 cups of dried fruit you’re golden.  I tried combining dried apricot, dried pineapple and dried mango a couple weeks ago and it might be my favorite combo so far.  Have fun!

INA’S GRANOLA BARS

  • 2 c. old-fashioned oats
  • 1 c. almonds
  • 1 c. shredded coconut
  • 1/2 c. wheat germ
  • 3 T. butter
  • 2/3 c. honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. dried apricots, diced
  • 1/2 c. dried chopped dates
  • 1/2 c. dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put almonds and 1 c. oatmeal into the blender and pulse until the nuts are broken down pretty well.  Spread onto a cookie sheet with remaining oatmeal, coconut and wheat germ and bake for about 10-12 minutes or until coconut has started to brown.  Remove tray and reduce oven temp to 300 degrees.  (Why, you ask?  Honey burns at a higher temp!  If you’re baking something with honey in it, reduce your oven temp and cook longer – I guarantee that whatever you make will taste better.)

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring honey, butter, vanilla and brown sugar to a rolling boil for one minute.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Add toasted mixture and dried fruit to a large mixing bowl and pour honey over top.  Mix VERY well.  With wet hands, press into a foil-lined 7×11 pan and bake in that 300 degree (reduced temp) oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges are very slightly browned.

Now, as tempting as it may be to want to cut into that pan, BACK AWAY SLOWLY!  Let those bars sit and cool for about 2 hours before cutting into 16 pieces. Try it too early, and they’ll completely fall apart on you and all that work will have been for naught.

For those of you watching what you’re eating, here’s the nutritional info on these babies (compliments of my Lose It iPhone app):

  • Calories:  233
  • Fat:  8.4g (2.9g saturated)
  • Cholesterol:  5.7mg
  • Sodium:  28.7mg
  • Carbs: 39.6g
  • Fiber:  3.9g
  • Sugars:  23.2g
  • Protein:  4.8

One more little tidbit:  These are great post-work out bars because they’re relatively low in protein.  The experts (by the way, I am not one) say that consuming foods with both sugary carbs and protein post-work out actually slows down how quickly your body metabolizes sugar because the protein acts like a blocker.  The carbs and sugar get your blood sugars back up and there’s not much protein to get in the way.  Nice, huh? 🙂

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