Thursday, April 16, 2015

Granola Bars!

For awhile now, I have been thinking about making granola bars. Is that weird? It's something that I keep going back to and last night I finally bought the ingredients. It was kind of fun.  I went to the grocery store that's run by the local food cooperative.  This grocery has an entire wall of bulk bins and a decent selection of natural dried fruits. I needed a few other things from there that I can't get as easily from the regular grocery so I decided to go for it with a new baking adventure.

First home made granola bars
Yesterday before shopping I looked up several granola bar recipes.  Most of them were very similar.  I wanted to sort of figure out a kind of base recipe to go from.  I saw that most recipes included honey, brown sugar, and butter.  I read some blog entries with a few of the recipes and I had a moment; high fructose corn syrup is not the devil. All of the recipes I read included the addition of sugar. Some of the recipes pointed out that commercial granola bars contain high fructose corn syrup and the authors of these posts went on to say that they did not feel good about consuming HFCS. It's fine to have opinions, but they still chose to use sugar in their recipes. If the goal of making your own granola bars is to reduce the amount of sugar you are eating, great! However, eating sugar is still eating sugar and sugar intake of any kind should be kept low. Anyway, I like sugar. I know I usually eat too much of it and this statement about HFCS, just like what I read written in the blog posts of others, is an opinion.  

The recipe that I used can be found here and you know I didn't follow it exactly because for some reason I can't. I made a few substitutions for a vegan version (you can decide for yourself how you feel about honey). I used Earth Balance instead of butter, carob chips instead of chocolate chips, and dried cherries instead of cranberries. Carob chips have improved so much from what I remember eating. The ones I bought yesterday tasted like dark chocolate. I don't even think my daughter (who has never had a carob chip) would have noticed any difference. I just stirred all the chips into the warm mixture instead of leaving some out to press in. The directions said the melted chips would act like glue and I wanted glue.

They were super simple to make and more affordable than expected. I'm enjoying the tartness of the cherries with the other flavors.  These have a nice texture and a range of flavor, chocolaty, nutty, and tart.  I'm planning to try some other variations.

nom nom nom, xoxo,

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