As I write this, I’m in the midst of getting ready for my second jaunt to Seattle. I made the trek back in April to visit the great folks at Allrecipes. It was a whirlwind trip in preparation for a video shoot with McCormick Gourmet but we managed to get in enough sightseeing, eating, cocktail drinkin’ and picture taking to realize that Seattle is one totally hip town and we had to go back! You can read all about that trip here.
This time I will be joined by over 70 Allrecipes Ambassadors from across the country, all converging on Seattle and the Allrecipes headquarters to help them celebrate their 15th anniversary. I’ve had the great fortune to have a long standing relationship with Allrecipes that has brought about incredible opportunities and I’m thrilled and honored to be joining them in this celebration. Paul will be joining me and it just so happens that our wedding anniversary falls on the exact same day. Watch out Seattle, here we come!
In the meantime, I’m sharing a recipe for homemade granola bars cause they’re easy, and they’re tasty, and because I’m busy as all heck and had this post waiting in the wings. Truth.
I’ve baked a lot of granola bars and I’ve also bought tons of the boxed variety over time. There’s no contest between the two. The homemade variety wins, hands down in flavor, texture and overall taste. In this version I combine tart dried cherries with dark chocolate. Coconut and almonds add sweetness and a little crunch and the addition of Rice Krispies with the oats make them very kid friendly.
The grocery list – Quick cooking oats, Rice Krispies, sweetened/flaked coconut, sliced almonds, corn syrup, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, butter, salt, dried cherries, and dark (bittersweet) chocolate chips.
Spread the oats and almonds out on a rimmed baking sheet and pop them into a preheated 350 degree oven for about 8 minutes. Pull them out when they are slightly golden brown and turn the oven temperature down to 325 degrees.
While the oats and almonds are toasting, place the corn syrup, honey, butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and the brown sugar has dissolved, remove the pan from the heat.
Transfer the toasted oats and almonds to a large mixing bowl. Add the coconut and mix well.
Pour the mixture from the saucepan over the oat mixture and combine well.
In go the dried cherries and dark chocolate chips.
Give it another stir to incorporate the good stuff.
Transfer the mixture to a 13 x 9 pan that has been coated with non-stick cooking spray. I like to use a piece of wax or parchment paper to compact the mixture evenly down into the pan. Keeps the hands clean! Then just pop them back in the oven and bake at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool for an hour or more before slicing into bars.
This is an excellent choice for when you are the designated “snack parent” at your kids next sporting or school event. Instead of just grabbing a box at the store, why not throw together a batch of these freshly baked goodies.
Cherry Dark Chocolate Granola Bars
Yield: 12 – 16 bars
- 2 cups quick cooking oats
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/2 cup Rice Krispies
- 1/2 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spread the oats and almonds onto a baking sheet. Place in the oven and toast for 8 minutes or till just slightly browned. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
In a saucepan combine the honey, corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir and cook until butter has melted and brown sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place Rice Krispies and oat/almond mixture in a large mixing bowl. Add coconut and mix well. Pour honey mixture over and mix well. Mix in cherries and chocolate chips.
Coat a 13 x 9 pan with cooking spray. Pour granola mixture into pan and press it down, using a sheet of wax or parchment paper, until compacted and even. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes at 325 degrees. Remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting into bars and removing from pan.
Store in an air tight container.