Sunday, February 7, 2010

Homemade Granola Bars

Reading "Omnivore's Dilemma" has only heightened by determination to eat less processed food. Which brings me to one of my favorite processed foods, Nature Valley granola bars. I buy them in bulk from BJ's.

They don't have as much bad stuff as many processed foods, but the saturated fat level is a little on the high side as are the calories (like many food giants, General Mills plays games with the serving size, writing on the label that the nutritional information is for 1 bar without noting that the package contains 2 bars).

I decided this weekend to try to make my own granola bars. My cookbooks proved of little help, so I turned to the Internet and found this recipe from Alton Brown of Food Network.

I like Brown as host of Iron Chef, but I find him somewhat annoying on his own. I can't put my finger on why. I want to say he's pedantic, but that's not really the case. He's actually very down to earth and straightforward in the food he presents and his instructions for preparing it. Guess it's just one of those things.

That said, his granola bar recipe came out fantastically. The bars are a little less crunchy and a little more chewy than the industrial goodness of General Mills, but definitely more flavorful with greater complexity. You can taste the different ingredients, whereas the Nature Valley bars are pretty one note.

I made the following modifications to the recipe: I substituted two tablespoons of canola oil for the butter (less saturated fat), left out the sunflower seeds instead adding more rolled oats, and used chopped walnuts instead of slivered almonds (I had them in the pantry). I used dried cherries for the fruit. My glass pan was also a little smaller, more like 8" x 8".

Easy, relatively quick and much tastier than the industrial variety.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this recipe - I'll give it a try. Alton Brown can definitely be annoying, but I've learned a lot from watching Good Eats!