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Granola Bar "Muffins"

April 03 2012 - 4:05 PM

GranolamuffinI have a thing for making my own granola bars from scratch. For one thing, it's way cheaper than buying it. Plus, you are able to customize it and add just the dried fruits and nuts that you like. I've found that even the granola bars that claim to be "healthy" have tons of ingredients I don't recognize on the label. 

My granola bars often turn into broken granola because it can be a sticky situation to try to get them out of the pan in one piece. It's difficult to come up with a solution without adding tons of sweeteners or burning the bars. I think I may have finally found a solution. Baking the bars in muffin tins helps automatically portion out the bars and gets them to stick together. I've found from trial and error that you simply cannot use paper lines in this case, or you'll be eating the paper. 

The easiest solution is to invest in some silicone baking cups – they're reusable, eco-friendly and work wonders. If you don't have any, try pushing some parchment paper in the bottom of your tins and load in the granola mixture. Otherwise, you won't be able to get these sticky muffins out. 

Granola Bar "Muffins"

Makes 6 large muffins 

1 cup old fashioned oats
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp vegetable oil or melted butter 
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt 
1/2 tbsp water (if necessary)
1 cup dried fruit/nuts 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine oats, flour, salt, cinnamon and dried fruits or nuts in a large bowl and stir together. Be sure not to use salted nuts because their flavor will ruin the bars unless you adjust your sweeteners accordingly. I prefer sliced almonds and dried cranberries or cherries. Trader Joe's makes a great mixture of dried fruits. In a separate small bowl, mix together your butter (or oil), water, sugar, vanilla, corn syrup and honey or syrup. I use mostly honey with about 2 tablespoons of syrup. It gives it a great, rich flavor. Pour the wet mixture over the dry until it is evenly coated.

Pour your granola into the prepared muffin tins (with silicone muffin cups or parchment paper), and bake for about 30 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. The granola will be soft when you remove it from the oven but will harden upon standing. Be sure to  let thoroughly cool and refrigerate before removing the granola bars from the pan. Enjoy as a great, portable snack, or crumble it into your yogurt. 

–Marly Schuman