Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Granola Bar Competition

Granola Bar Competition
My friend Shannon and I have cooking parties when we're both in Calgary, making some bulk recipes and then splitting the end product into single servings for our own freezers. One of our favourites is based on the Whitewater Granola Bars recipe below, with a few personal modifications!

I have since passed this recipe on to my mom and she has given it her own personal touch (one of the great things about granola bars!). So last night, after my sister and I picked up our mother and father at the airport, it was proposed by my father to have a cook-off to see which granola bar comes out on top. Now my mom was very private about her recipe, so I will describe how mine goes.

Start with 1 cup of sesame seeds, 1 cup of coconut and 1 cup of sunflower seeds (all organic!) and toast in a frying pan on low heat just to bring out their essential oils. I use unsweetened coconut, as I have a bit of an intolerance to it and it does not come out as strong in the final product. Once toasted, set them aside to cool.

Next, cream together 1 cup of butter, 1&1/2 cups of peanut butter, 1&1/2 tbsp. of vanilla and 2 cups of brown sugar in a LARGE bowl (you'll be adding a lot more to this and will need a lot of room). I use real butter as opposed to margarine and organic peanut butter. For the prep work, make sure you mix the organic peanut butter and put it in the fridge for at least an hour or two before using it in the creaming step or the granola bars will come out too soft and runny!

Following the creaming, add the corn syrup. Now the Whitewater recipe uses 1 cup of corn syrup, S and I substitute it for 1/2 cup of corn syrup and 1/2 cup of honey to sweeten it up! Next, add the seed mixture to the creamed mixture in 3 parts, mixing thoroughly with each addition. After this will come 6 cups of oats, yes 6 CUPS! I use the Bob's Red Mill  organic whole oats and add it in 3 portions again, mixing thoroughly with each addition. The next step calls for 2 cups of raisins, which we substitute for 1 cup of organic raisins and 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips - big chocoholics!!

Now that your arms are exhausted, cause it takes a lot of work to mix in the oats, raisins and chocolate chips, it is time to press it into a greased casserole dish. The original recipe uses a deep cookie sheet, but we prefer the casserole dish. Bake at 350 deg F for 20 mins or until browned, oven dependent.

Looking delicious huh :P! Score the cooling bars and leave them until they are 100% completely cool, or they will crumble when you attempt to lift them out of the dish. Hint: We make sure there is ample room in the fridge and stick them in there while we make our other dishes!

Once cool, cut along the score lines, lift em' out and enjoy! These are perfect for hiking, snacking and taking to school/work and freeze easily too! They yield approximately 16 bars, unless you're Shannon and then you get about 12 ;)

Above are mom's version of the granola bars, as you can see slightly different with her personal touch! As far as the winner, we'll leave the comments to be the judge!

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