Alton Brown's Granola Bars

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I love Alton Brown.  While I really enjoy other chefs' shows, his is the one I'd DVR if I had anything other than rabbit ears.  What I like about him is that his entertaining show highlights the scientific side of food, helping you to better understand what you're doing in the kitchen, and why different ingredients work the way they do.  His recipes, I've found, are great and have very little room for error.

That's why I chose to do his granola bar recipe before anyone else's.  I scoured allrecipes.com, smittenkitchen.com, and foodnetwork.com before settling on his.  I will probably try out others' recipes, as well, but here's how my first crack at granola bars went: the taste was good, bordering on addictive, and the bars were soft, which is how I like them.  My only complaint is that they may be too soft- they were falling apart! 

Either way, I would recommend these over the purchased granola bars, because it's more economical, and more importantly, you're controlling what goes in there.  My goal was to make a nutritious and healthy bar with as little sugar as possible.  That meant, that while tasty, the chocolate chips and corn syrup recipes were out. 

The process of making these bars was fairly easy, so I am not sure why the finished result fell apart.  I wonder if maybe I did something wrong?  If you notice it, please post in the comments! 

Alton Brown's Granola Bars
courtesy of foodnetwork.com

8 ounces old-fashioned rolled oats, approximately 2 cups
1 1/2 ounces raw sunflower seeds, approximately 1/2 cup
3 ounces sliced almonds, approximately 1 cup
1 1/2 ounces wheat germ, approximately 1/2 cup
6 ounces honey, approximately 1/2 cup
1 3/4 ounces dark brown sugar, approximately 1/4 cup packed
1-ounce unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 1/2 ounces chopped dried fruit, any combination of apricots, cherries or blueberries

Butter a 9 by 9-inch glass baking dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, and wheat germ onto a half-sheet pan. Place in the oven and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, combine the honey, brown sugar, butter, extract and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved.

Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees F. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine. Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish and place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

  • I measured most everything out by weight
  • I had whole almonds that I chopped.  The result is not having pretty, uniform slices, but the taste is the same.
  • I love pumpkin seeds more than sunflower, so I used 1/4 c. of each.
  • Here's possibly where I went wrong- I used an 8" square dish.  It's all I had.  It could also be my oven.
  • I didn't have dark brown sugar.  I am not even sure that my grocery store has dark brown sugar.  I used light brown in its place. 

The mixture at the beginning- much like my granola.

Cooking the sugar, honey, and butter.  Another possibility of where I maybe messed up- I tried cooking it like the directions, but maybe it's like making candy on a humid day or making no-bake cookies and it's just left up to chance-?

The pre-baked mix.  It also looked a lot like that coming out, so maybe I didn't bake it long enough.  I was worried about overbaking and ending up with a tough mess.

Either way, happy cooking!

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