Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Granola Bars for Grumpy Hikers

Lets face it, hiking can either be really refreshing or really painful. Unfortunately for me it tends to be the latter. But one thing that can make any hike a little better is packing really good food to fuel you as you journey towards you destination and back home again.

One staple you will find in ever hikers pack is some form of the granola bar. Really it makes a lot of sense. They contain carbs for energy, nuts to sustain your hunger and are small enough to take anywhere, including the treacherous trails of Runyon Canyon. However, granola bars tend to have the same dilemma as hikes... they are either really refreshing or really painful. 

Today I bring you a recipe for granola bars that are very refreshing. In fact, they may be the best granola bars I have had the pleasure of consuming. And the best part is that you can play around with what fruits, nuts, chocolates, etc you want to include in them as long as the sticky to dry ration remains the same. So lace up your hiking boots, strap on your fanny pack and make a batch of these granola bars to take with you. I promise they will make those painful hikes a little less painful
Grump Hiker Granola Bars 
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 1 2/3 c Quick Oats
  • 1/4 Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Granulated Sugar
  • 1/3 c Oat Flour (1/3 c oats processed till finely ground in a food processor)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 3 c of Dried Fruits and Nuts ( I used 1 1/2 c of jumbo raisins and 1 1/2 c toasted slivered almonds)*
  • 1/3 c Peanut Butter
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 6 tbsp Melted Butter
  • 1/4 c Honey
  • 2 tbsp Light Corn Syrup
  • 1 tbsp Water 

* Other ideas: chocolate chips, dates, coconut, pecans, dried apricots, walnuts, cranberries, etc.

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 8x8 pan with parchment paper and coat the paper with non-stick  spray.
2. Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruits and nuts.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients, except the peanut butter. 
4. Add the wet mixture and peanut butter to the dry mixture and toss until evenly coated. Spread evenly into the prepared pan and press down firmly to fit the pan.
5. Bake the bars for 25-35 minutes until they brown around the edges. The middle will still feel soft when they are done but they will set once they cool.
6. Cool 20 minutes in the pan on a cooling rack. Use the parchment sling to remove the bars from the pan and set on top of the cooling rack to cool 10 more minutes. Transfer to the fridge until cold, this will help reduce crumbling when you cut the bars.
7. Cut the bars into squares with a very sharp knife. Wrap individually in plastic wrap for your hike or store in an airtight container. 

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