granola bars, Michelle and I did some genius brainstorming around other possible granola concoctions. I mean really, the options with granola are endless. I was head over heels for the almond-raisin-cranberry version, but I was sure a tropical variety would take it up, like, 10 notches.
I took a look in the pantry yesterday and pulled out everything I could find that seemed tropical-ish. When I had this idea, I'd picked up some macadamia nuts and dried pineapple. Since then, I'd also acquired some dried mango (thanks to Tiff!). I was out of coconut, but still had a lot of white chocolate chips from my red velvet cookie venture. They seemed like an appropriate sweet substitute, and now my bars included just about everything but the kitchen sink.
I was super excited about this combination, but it turns out that sometimes more isn't better. I may have overdone it ... but just a tiny bit. Check out the recipe and my notes to learn more.
Tropical Granola-to-Go BarsIngredients:
3 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup sunflower kernels
1/2 cup dried pineapple, chopped
1/2 cup dried mango, chopped
1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Place oats in a 15x10x1-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until toasted, stirring occasionally.
In a large bowl, combine the egg, butter, honey and vanilla. Stir in the sunflower kernels, pineapple, mango, brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir in macadamia nuts and chocolate chips. Stir in oat mixture.
Press into same baking dish you used to toast the oats, coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 13-18 minutes or until set and edges are lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Store in an airtight container.
So the first time I attempted granola bars, I had to rebake them because they didn't set. And even after that, they were sort of chewy ... but super chewy-licious (even if they were sort of falling apart)! This time, I set the oven timer for 20 minutes instead of the initial 18 the recipe calls for. But then Bill waltzed into the kitchen wanting to make a frozen pizza (I didn't feed him dinner last night). Since his pizza needed a 400 degree oven, I decided to crank up the heat on my granola bars and check them in a few minutes to be sure they weren't getting too golden. Well, it's a good thing I checked them when I did because they were done at about 16 minutes. And when I say done, I might mean overdone.
They still turned out mostly chewy, but they are definitely not crumbling like they did last time. I'm wondering if I overloaded them with ingredients, making them too dense. (Or it could be that I just baked them a bit too long.) I'm not sure that my wet-to-dry ingredient ratio was quite right with either recipe ... perhaps I still have to find the right balance ... and actually measure instead of tossing in a handful of this and a pinch of that! Regardless, they still taste delicious! Although next time, I might melt the chocolate chips and drizzle them on top instead of baking them in. That would take it up, like, 20 notches!