Thursday, October 01, 2009

Granola Squares

I have been working and working on making granola that doesn't have much raw sugar / honey and are full of very healthy, very yummy ingredients.  I had a few recipes that I pulled together as well as a few items that I pulled out of my own hat to make these.  Don't get me wrong, they are still very high in calories (if you make 16 squares they are about 190 calories a square), but you could easily decrease the amount of dried fruit to make them less calories.  Or at least a little less :) 

I also found that they taste better on the second day, after being in the fridge and letting the banana really sweeten them up.  Also, I love to freeze them and have them a few weeks later.  Heck, I like to do that with any food!

Granola Squares

1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup wheat bran
1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed (I used unsweetened)
5 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
1/4 cup flax seed
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seed
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cup dried fruit, or a mix of dried fruit

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Spray an 8×12-inch baking dish with cooking spray (you can use a 9×13-inch pan if you want) and line it with parchment paper.

Toss the oatmeal, almonds, cinnamon, wheat bran, flax, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.  Then, transfer the oatmeal mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.

While the oatmeal mixture is toasting, smash the banana with a fork until liquid and then add the honey and mix well.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.

While the mixture is still warm, stir in the banana/honey mixture, vanilla and salt until the mixture is well coated, then the dried fruit. Pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish and press, press, press it in until the mixture is packed as tightly as possible.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares — your best serrated knife is great for this.

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