Monday, March 23, 2009

Fruit & Nut Granola Bars, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars and Some GREAT Peanut Butter Brownies and COOKIES!

I've been meaning to get these posted.  Sigh.  Oh if I could post as often as I'd like.

Anyway, THESE are delicious.  You'll never need to buy store bought, partially hydrogenated oily, high fructose corn syrupy granola bars again.  I keep telling myself since these are so healthy that it's okay to keep eating them.  They are full of tons of fiber and fruit, so be careful eating too many. ; )

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One thing I really like about these is that you can add whatever you want.  So I did.  I added tons of dried fruit, some nuts and cinnamon chips.  By the way, I found these over at Becky's blog, Satisfying My Sweet Tooth and she adapted a recipe from Ina Garten.  She baked hers 25 minutes until they were crisp, I only baked mine 20 minutes and they are a perfect chewy granola bar.  Here's the recipe as I adapted it, but the main ingredients are the same.

Fruit & Nut Granola Bars

2 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened, organic fine shredded coconut)

1/2 cup wheat bran

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2/3 cup honey

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup dried cranberries

2 dried peach halves, chopped

2 dried pineapple spears, chopped

1/2 cup cinnamon chips (sorry if you can't find them where you live!--if you want the cinnamon flavor to your bars and can't find these, just add 1/2 - 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon)

1/2 cup almond/pecans, mixed (roasted), chopped (It's just what I had, Becky's recipe says 1 cup raw almonds toasted with the oats and coconut)

1/4 cup pepitas/sunflower seeds, mixed (roasted)

Mix oats and coconut (and any raw nuts) together on a baking sheet that has raised sides and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, stirring every three minutes.

Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add the wheat bran.

In a small saucepan (or  microwave safe bowl--that's what I did), melt the honey, butter and brown sugar together.  Remove from heat and add vanilla and salt.  Stir together and pour over the oat mixture.  Add dried fruit, nuts and cinnamon chips and mix well to combine.  Pour mixture into a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Press together evenly.  (I did not go clear out to the sides of the baking sheet--only made about a 9x13 rectangle in the middle.) 

Bake at 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes (20 minutes made perfect chewy bars, 25 makes crispy bars).  Cool slightly before cutting into bars.  (Or bread into odd sized pieces.)  Cool completely.

*Note, I think these had a little too much fruit, though I love it, it made them so that they were falling apart--that and maybe bake them just a little longer.  I will cut some of the fruit next time, maybe just dried cranberries one time and not raisins, etc.  A tropical theme with coconut, dried pineapple, mango, etc. would be good, too, even bananas.  Okay, that's all.  Try these!

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I liked the Fruit & Nut Granola Bars so much that I had to try peanut butter and chocolate.  These need a little tweaking, but are still GOOD!  I left out the coconut this time and since I did, I added extra oats and think I added a bit too much, they aren't dry, but have a bit too much oats and I like them chewy and baked these for the 25 minutes and will probably stick with 20 minutes next time.  Here's what I did.  Play around with it.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

2  1/2 cups old fashioned oats (I used 3 cups and think it was a bit much)

1/2 cup wheat bran

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup peanut butter (I used Smuckers All Natural Chunky Peanut Butter and will probably use Skippy Natural next time as it was also a little dry)

1/4 cup brown sugar (I didn't write it down and can't remember if I omitted this--I will probably omit it if using Skippy, but it needs the extra sweetness if using all natural peanut butter)

2/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Spread oats on baking sheet with raised sides and bake in 300 degree oven for 12 minutes, stirring every three minutes.  Transfer the oats to a large bowl and add the wheat bran.   Stir together.

In small saucepan or microwave safe dish, melt butter, peanut butter, honey and brown sugar.  Remove from heat and add vanilla and salt.  Pour over oat mixture and stir to combine.  Let sit until cool (or refrigerate briefly) if you don't want the chocolate chips to melt.  (This is what I did.)  Add chocolate chips and stir to combine.  Spread evenly in a 9x13 parchment lined pan or a baking sheet.  Bake at 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Cool slightly before cutting into bars.  Cool completely.

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Play around with these bars, it's fun and they are yummy--and better for you!

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And  now that we've been talking healthy, get a look at these tasty brownies!!!

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I found these yummy brownies at Betty Crocker, but didn't add a peanut butter frosting they suggested.  These are great without it, but if you like a frosted brownie, go check out the recipe on the Betty Crocker site.

Peanut Butter Marbled Brownies, adapted from Betty Crocker

For the peanut butter mixture:

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter (I used Skippy Natural, smooth)

1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 large eggs

For the brownies:

1 box brownie mix (GASP!), 9x13 family size

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup water

2 large eggs

1/2 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9x13 inch pan with nonstick foil, or spray lightly with cooking spray.  In mixing bowl, combine sugar, peanut butter, flour and eggs.  Mix on medium speed 2 minutes.  Set aside.

In medium sized bowl, stir together brownie mix, water, oil and eggs until well combined.  Spread evenly in baking pan.  Drop peanut butter mixture by tablespoonfuls onto brownie batter.  Sprinkle peanut butter chips around as well.  Swirl through batter with knife.

Bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes, remove from baking pan using edges of foil and cool completely on wire rack.  (You can use your own favorite brownie recipe, too, but sometimes, these mixes are great and quick and they taste good, too!)

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Can you imagine a peanut butter frosting on these?  Well, yep, I'm sure it would be good and knock the decadence level up a notch or two for these, but they were great just like this!  (Gave most of them away for a birthday!)  And this.  The giant cookie is made using Lisa Michele's Levain Copycat recipe that I've been recently baking up like crazy and loving.  (Thanks, Lisa Michele!)  Whether any recipe will really be AS GOOD as being in NYC and having a fresh baked Levain Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie, I don't know, but Lisa's recipe is a great chocolate chip cookie and it made some pretty amazing giant cookies that I baked in a pizza pan for 15 minutes.  I'll tell you about the chocolate cookies in another post.

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Here's a picture of some 4 ounce Levain's I also made with this recipe.  Mmmmm, they're good!  (Just ask my dad and nieces--I made them three times while I was home in Idaho!)

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17 comments:

Megan said...

Dang girl - you've been busy. Everything looks great - but those pb brownies are just calling my name. Can't you hear them? And you used a box mix? Scandalous!

BTW - I recently learned how to make chewy granola bars as well - and I don't buy them from the store anymore!

pinkstripes said...

Everything looks delicious! I love homemade granola bars.

Sara said...

Wow, you've been busy! Everything looks amazing, especially those brownies. I make granola bars at home too, they taste so much better than store bought.

Satisfying my Sweet Tooth said...

Those look so good! I love all of your additions. I'm going to try the pb and chocolate ones too. And I might as well go ahead and make your brownies!

Becky said...

Oh those brownies look so good. I've decided that I have an instant love for anything peanut butter and chocolate. I'm gonna have to try a few of those recipes.

Jill said...

I've been wanting to make some homemade granola bars. These recipes look great and I love the idea of adding cinnamon chips!

Lisa said...

Katrina, you did an amazing job on the cookies..the 4oz babies look just like Levain's, and I love the giant one! True, we'll probaby never have the real recipe for them, but like you said, it's great to even come close in taste, texture and appearance. MY SO said I should apply for a job there, but I let him know that there's NO WAY anyone but the two Levain ladies know the recipe, and the flours and leavens, along with the sugars and fats are probably already portioned out and bagged prior to mixing and baking so NO ONE will ever know the exact recipe!

Finally, I MUST have those Peanut Butter Swirl brownies now! Boxed mix or not, those look AMAZING, as does everything else you baked! You're one talented lady!

Stephanie said...

YUM! That is way too many good things for one post!

Elyse said...

Wow, Katrina!! What a load of treats!! Those granola bars--especially the fruit and nut ones--look totally dangerous. I could rationalize eating way too many of them! And, of course, you know I have a weakness for CCCs. I've downloaded the levain copycat recipe, and I can't wait to try it! Everything look UBER delicious!!!

noble pig said...

That is quite the title! My goodness you have been busy...it all looks so good.

Lynn said...

Oh yum. Your chocolate-y pictures make me want to dive right in ;)

Michelle said...

WOW! All of these look so good! Thanks for sharing the recipes!

Emily said...

Your pictures are so great! These look amazing! -e

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Now that's a cookie! LOVE IT! And the ones next to it look great too (so do the bars and brownies)! Too much yummyness for one post! I have yet to try that new Levain. Maybe I'll try the new CI first and then that one. You've made the CI yesterday?

David Lee said...

I was looking for something creative like this. Then tried this awesome recipe. This recipe does not disappoint. It's a snap to prepare and really tasty. It's glamor keeps me pushing into the kitchen.

jenstjohn said...

Thank you so much! This is the perfect recipe for PB/chip granola bars out of many others I saw out there that I didn't want to make for one reason or another.

I'm just getting started on my blog, Crazy Nest, and really enjoying what you've done here! Thanks!

Cookie Madness said...

Thanks for posting the granola bar recipe. I've been making King Arthur's Vermont Granola Bars, but the problem I'm having is that a) they keep coming out too chewy - almost hard and b) the base is made by boiling the syrup over the stove, so the chocolate chips (which I have to add, of course) always melt. I'm going to try this one and swap out the pineapple and peaches for white chips or chocolate chips.