4 tablespoons (55 grams) butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup (80 ml) honey
1/3 cup (80 ml) golden syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (190 grams) old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup (15 grams) rice cereal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (35 grams) dried cranberries or cherries
1/4 cup (40 grams) chocolate chips (semi sweet, bittersweet, milk, white, or peanut butter)
Granola Bars: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Butter (or spray with a non stick cooking spray) a 9 inch square (23 cm) baking pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter, honey, and golden syrup. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Allow to cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl mix together the rolled oats, rice cereal, salt, dried cherries, and chocolate chips. With a large spoon or spatula, stir the butter mixture into the oat mixture, making sure all the dry ingredients are completely coated. Pour the granola into the prepared pan and, with damp hands, press the granola evenly into the pan.
Bake for about 22-25 minutes, or until the granola is golden brown and set. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10-15 minutes before cutting into bars. Then continue to cool the granola bars for about two hours, or until set. (Note: The granola bars will be soft when they are removed from the oven but will firm up and become crisp as they cool.) Can be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature for several days.
Makes about 12 - 4 1/2 x 1 1/2 inch (11.5 x 4 cm) granola bars
Most of us like to snack and, judging from the huge selection in grocery stores, we like to snack on granola bars. Granola Bars are so easy to make at home. They take about the same amount of time as making homemade granola. The difference between the two is that we bake Granola Bars in a pan instead of spreading the granola mixture onto a baking sheet. These bars are loaded with oats, rice cereal, dried fruits, and chocolate chips, which are binded together with a sweet and sticky mixture of honey, golden syrup, butter, and vanilla. They are baked until golden brown and the only problem is that, after they come out of the oven, we can't eat them straight away. We have to wait an hour or two so they can cool and become wonderfully crisp and crunchy. But I love how they are still chewy. And the great part is that if you like a granola bar that is more crisp, and less chewy, all you have to do is to bake the bars a few minutes longer.
Now, we must talk about ingredients. First, the oats. I prefer to use the thicker textured, old fashioned rolled oats over the quick cooking type. Then there is the dried cranberries (or cherries). First, let me say that you can use other dried fruits. When buying dried fruits, try to buy in bulk form from a grocery store or natural food store that has a high turnover. Not only will the fruit be fresher, but you can see, smell, feel, and often taste the fruit to make sure it is fresh and of high quality. Pre-packaged fruit can also be excellent but it is harder to judge the quality of the fruit through the plastic bag. So be sure to check the expiration date on the bag and look for dried fruit that is plump, moist, and has good color. Never buy fruit that is dried out or moldy.
The recipe calls for binding the ingredients together with a mixture of butter, honey, and golden syrup. These ingredients add sweetness and a unique flavor to the granola. Honey comes in many different flavors, so be sure to use one that you enjoy. I like to use a mild flavored honey, like clover or orange blossom, because they won't overpower the other flavors in the granola bars. Also, if you don't want to use golden syrup, other choices are agave, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, or even a light corn syrup. Honey and golden syrup are very sticky, so before measuring, spray the inside of the measuring cup with a non stick cooking spray or use a mild flavored oil. That way the ingredients will just slide out of the cup.