October 15, 2013

spiced granola bars

molasses spiced oatmeal bars

I'm spoiled rotten when it comes to honey and molasses, we get several huge jars each year from the farm and they make everything more delicious. My honey obsession began early as a child, I'd wake up for breakfast and smear cold butter on warm slices of toast and then ladle a large spoon with honey to cover the bread. I'd make sure the toast was cool enough that the butter didn't melt and would be supple enough to bind the honey because I hated losing any honey that could drip off the slice. That still remains one of my favorite and probably the most simplest of things to eat for breakfast. I do it less often now and occasionally on weekends but each and every single time, I do indulge in my childhood fantasy, it is every bit as as wonderful as I can remember.

old fashioned oatmeal

At 5am, the three block walk to the gym is chilly and I realized today that I've moved on from wearing tee-shirts every morning to double layering and now triple layering. I'm a cold weather wimp and I doubt this year will be any exception. But one of the things, I really look forward to after my workouts are my homemade oatmeal bars. I've been making these bars for several years and I do something different with every batch I prepare. This is my autumn-themed version which uses delicious dark molasses, honey and a little brown sugar for sweetness and a sprinkling of cinnamon and ginger for warmth and flavor.

Molasses spiced granola bars

I've also added a handful of almonds and sunflower seeds for nuttiness and reduced the butter content. There is also a bit of ground flaxseed meal that gives a healthy yet delicious flavor to the bars. Can you imagine the aroma of warm toasting oatmeal with all these nutty and spicy ingredients baking in your oven. It is pure kitchen bliss! These bars make the perfect snack and are also a great treat for adults and kids alike. 

toasted oatmeal

I have an exciting new food photography project that I will reveal to you in a couple of days. It will be a fun new adventure for me that I know I will thoroughly enjoy and I think you will too, so stay tuned!

molasses oatmeal bars

spiced granola bars

yields: approximately 27 bars

ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup flaxseed meal
1/2 mixed raisins
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, freshly ground
1/2 cup dark molasses
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 420F and line a square 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper. 
2. Melt the butter in a thick bottomed saucepan on medium high flame. Fold the oats into the melted butter with a silicone rubber spatula. Stir the oats every 3 minutes till they are evenly golden brown. Remove the oats from the stove and transfer to a large mixing bowl aside. 
3. Toss the sunflower seeds, almonds, flaxseed, raisins, ginger, and cinnamon into the bowl containing the oats. Mix the ingredients until evenly distributed. Leave aside.
4. In a small thick bottomed pot, bring the molasses, honey, and brown sugar to a boil on a medium high flame with constant stirring. Once the mixture begins to boil, immediately reduce the flame to a gentle simmer and cook for another 3 minutes, constantly scraping the sides of the pot. Pour the hot liquid over the oats in the mixing bowl. Fold the syrup and the dry ingredients until evenly distributed. 
5. Transfer the oatmeal mix to the center of the lined baking pan. Spray a little cooking oil (I used olive oil) on the palms of your hands and rub your hands against each other. Using your hands, press the oatmeal into a firm flat layer starting from the center and moving towards the outer edges. Once the layer is even, place the pan on the center rack of the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the entire crust acquires a dark golden color. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack in the baking pan to room temperature.
6. Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the sides of the granola and transfer onto a cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the granola sheet into 1" X 3" bars. Store in an airtight container. 

49 comments:

  1. I love granola bars, and these sound so good and healthy–thanks for posting!

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  2. These look phenomenal! There really is nothing better than homemade granola bars. I love that you cook these on the stove first. I bet it makes them even nuttier and delicious!

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    1. I love making them Davida, you are so right. I love the freedom of adding whatever I want and controlling the level of sweetness in them.

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  3. Oh, I can smell those delicious bars right now! Awesome photography, I am hooked on your blog now:)

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    1. Thank you, Medha for the kind words and support!

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  4. Lovely bars! They must be qute aictively spicy.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. Thank you so much, Rosa! They are gingery rather than too spicy.

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  5. Nik, you have managed to make me crave a granola bar. Yes, you have!

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    1. Aww, yay! I could eat them all day if possible.

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  6. Looks so yummy. You are the first desi I know who was obsessed with honey in your childhood... I usually ate butter and bread as a child. Really nice story. Can't wait to hear about your project. :)

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    1. Haha, we ate honey and bitter orange marmalade a lot of breakfast, growing up.

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  7. What a tasty and healthy way to start the day!
    Definitely, nothing beats these home made Granola bars, Nick.

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  8. I've made my own granola several times before but never bars like these. I love the addition of ginger - I think it adds the perfect flavor. Very excited to hear about your photography project !

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    1. I can't wait to tell you more about it!

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  9. These look super delicious. My teen loves honey and he would love it if I made these for his breakfast. Looks good Nik.

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    1. Ooh, you should try making these for him!

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  10. I love granola bars, but I've never had molasses in them. I'm intrigued, and I'm pinning to try!

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    1. Molasses are surprisingly delicious with oatmeal!

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  11. MMMM,... Your spiced granola bars with the added molasses in it look just wonderful & amazing too! Another must make! Yummmmm! :)

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  12. We eat lots of energy bars too. Your spiced granola bars look awesome!

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  13. I can imagine the warm aromas that must have filled your kitchen...heavenly! The spiced version sounds amazing. Would add a dash of cinnamon and ginger to my next batch.

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  14. What a wonderful story, I loved it as much as this granola recipe...yay for spice!

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  15. I love homemade granola bars, and this version looks SO wonderfully delicious. YUM!

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  16. Love, love this...All amazing ingredients combined in a bar -- actually, several bars fortunately.

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  17. Great looking bars! And I'm really curious about your food photography project - can't wait to hear the details!

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    1. Thanks, John! I will reveal it sometime this week!

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  18. I love honey too, must try honey and butter on a toast. I have been planing to post granola bars, you beat me to it.
    Looking forward to reading about your photography gig!

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    1. Yay, we share the same love for honey!

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  19. Now, this is a granola bar that I'd happily devour -- absolutely loving the ginger in here :)

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    1. The ginger is just lovely, though I think ginger is great in anything!

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  20. My grandmother always had a big tin of molasses on the farm when we were growing up. It was sweet and delicious.
    5am to the gym? You are very dedicated!

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    1. You are so lucky, Suzanne! I love having my own stash of molasses on hand all the time now! I do love going to the gym but with the cold kicking in, I am less motivated to get there.

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  21. Can't wait to hear about your new food adventure! And I do so love the spices in these granola bars. I would happily snack on them endlessly!

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  22. I am a "cold weather wimp" too! Growing up we used to have Golden Syrup on our breakfast table and I ate Golden Syrup in the same way you ate honey - on toast with butter :)
    These bars look so good - love your combo of ginger, cinnamon and honey with oats!

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    1. Ooh, golden syrup! I have not had that in a long time.

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  23. Beautiful and scrumptious granola bars, Nik! I swear, I could live off of granola bars and granola in almond milk. And, with spices and honey...I am SO there! Thanks for sharing, my friend!

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    1. I love the idea of adding almond milk, it is one of my favorite drinks.

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  24. Always looking for homemade granola recipes and I'm a big molasses fan, so this one looks like a winner to me. These bars look delicious!

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