More chew, less crunch: tinkering with homemade granola bars

Homemade chewy granola bars

Homemade chewy granola bars

I’ve been on an oat and flax kick lately — making lots of granola, oatmeal and those no-bake energy balls that you see all over Pinterest. I’ve also played around with some granola bars, including the cherry almond ones that I made a month or so ago. They were delicious, but it’s hard for me to just keep making the same thing over and over, no matter how tasty it is.

So it should come as no surprise that when I saw a recipe in Food & Wine for Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Energy Bars, I decided to give them a go. And if you’ve been reading my blog at all, it should also not come as a surprise that I made some changes to the recipe.

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Was it Worth it: Can candied orange peel brighten up granola?

Granola with Almonds, Dried Cherries and Candied Orange Peels

  • The Background: It seems silly to do a long post about granola — lots of people make it and it’s so versatile that any recipe you have can be tweaked one way or another depending on your personal taste. And yet, this recipe in particular called out for me to do a post about it. Why? Because of this ingredient: candied orange peel.

I not only love homemade candied citrus peels, but I happen to have some leftover from Christmas and had never thought to use them in granola. It seemed like such a stroke of genius, though I was worried the candied part might make the granola too sweet. Thus, the recipe needed testing!

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Granola Bars vs White Bean Blondies: Not much of a battle

Homemade Cherry Almond Granola Bars

Homemade Cherry Almond Granola Bars

There’s a definite line between good healthy food and bad healthy food. I’ve been on a kick recently to try to make things healthier (yeah, yeah, New Year’s resolutions) and it’s had some interesting moments. Good things have come of it — I’ve discovered that I really love flax seeds, that baking with whole wheat flour isn’t scary and that coconut oil is possibly the best thing ever.

But bad decisions have also been made.

Have you ever cooked something so singly terrifying that you instantly feel ashamed of yourself? I recently traumatized my co-workers with a batch of (oh god Sean — please don’t judge me for this!) white bean blondies. Yes. I said it, white. bean. blondies. As in I took something that should have been filled with butter, sugar and eggs and used a can of pureed white beans instead.

I even used a well-tested recipe filled with comments like “no one ever guessed there were beans in here” and “these taste better than the real thing.” Those people are liars. They tasted exactly like beans — trust me, they weren’t fooling anyone. And even though I placed a disclaimer by the offering noting that it was both “vegan and gluten-free” (which really should have been enough of a warning), I was still a little worried I was going to get lynched.

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