Well I still don’t have the marshmallows to share. I want to tweak just a few last things–for a 4th batch (most of the 3rd was enjoyed by John’s students lest you think we have turned into marshmallows around here). It’s a hard job, making all these marshmallows, but someone has to do it.
In the meantime I do have the promised granola bar recipe. This is actually a twofer–it is a basic granola bar blueprint; it is amazing–so easy, so perfect. And it is also a specific, unusual granola bar that I came up with. Not rocket science, but worth sharing nonetheless. Or I think so at least.
The granola bar blueprint is from Smitten Kitchen. She does such an awesome job explaining it, with its myriad of options, that I am not going to re-type it. I will mention one thing I do differently from her–she says that oat flour plus quick cooking rolled oats are the key and specifically warns against old fashioned rolled oats. All I keep is old fashioned rolled oats, so I use 2 heaping cups of old fashioned rolled oats and I pulse them in a food processor about 15 times, to end up with a blend of chopped up oats and oat flour. It has worked perfectly, and requires less work for those of you, like me, who only buy old fashioned rolled oats. The picture above shows the un-processed rolled oats; the picture below shows how they look after I have processed them.
I got the idea for these granola bars after making several batches of peanut butter based granola bars and getting bored. They were awesome, but I have been baking for Alex’s kindergarten class, and I figured I needed some variety in my treats. I started wondering if my mother’s gingersnaps could be turned into a granola bar–replace the white flour with oats, seeds, grains, nuts, etc, but keep the flavoring the same. (I will mention that none of my granola bars have nuts currently because we know too many kids with nut allergies; feel free to sub nuts into this recipe and see the Smitten Kitchen link for some guidance.) It only took 2 batches to get it right, proving once again how flexible and well written the original recipe is. The only word of warning I have from my initial fail (which was a tasty fail) is to not overload your bars with oily ingredients, such as wheat germ and ground flaxseed–especially the ground flaxseed. The bars were too wet and did not hold together well when I had a lot of those kind of ingredients.
- 2 heaping cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 T ground flaxseed
- 2 T wheat germ
- 2 T chia seeds
- 3 T oat or wheat bran (I used oat)
- ½ cup finely diced candied ginger
- 1½ cups puffed grains of choice (I used millet and Kashi 7 Grain cereal)
- ½ - ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 3 T molasses (not light)
- 1 T light syrup of choice (honey, agave, light corn syrup--I used light agave)
- 2 T light corn syrup
- 4 T unsalted butter
- 2 T shortening (I used Earth Balance--but if butter feels healthier to you just use all butter)
- ½ t salt
- 1 t ground cloves
- 1 t ground ginger
- 1 heaping t ground cinnamon (cassia)
- sparkling sugar for topping the bars (I forgot this but would do next time)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly spray a 9X9 cake pan. Line it with parchment paper and then lightly spray that paper. Set aside.
- Toss together the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Melt the butter and shortening and pour into a large measuring glass with the molasses, light corn syrup, and the syrup of choice. Whisk these together with the salt and spices. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and toss until the dry ingredients have all been evenly moistened.
- Dump the mixture into the prepared pan. Use another square of parchment paper to push the granola evenly into the pan, making sure to get it into the corners, pat it down evenly, and also to press it down quite firmly. Sprinkle the top with sparkling sugar. Bake it at 350 F (I actually prefer convection 325 F if you have it) for 30-40 minutes, until the granola has browned, especially around the edges but also some on top. The middle may still be bubbling when you remove it, but it will set. Let it cool completely in the pan before removing the bars (use the parchment paper) and slicing with a sharp chef's knife. Store in an airtight container.