Sounds like a children’s book, right?!
Seriously: I have loved the Brown Eyed Baker since I came across her ah-MAZing Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. Make those suckers right, and it is a zen-like experience that you can really only understand while you’re eating them. (And if you use all organic, high-quality ingredients? With farm-fresh milk? OMG: SO. GOOD.)
Anyway, after I found those cookies, I figured that this chick was the real deal. I’m not big on cooking. I kind of enjoy baking (sometimes). Natch, I’m not following a lot of food/cooking blogs. But the cookies were enough to get me to “like” her Facebook page. I’m so glad I did, because it brought me these:
I’m not gonna lie, people: I only like one word out of those three, and it’s not crunchy, healthy, or granola. (Hey, most things that come in bar form are delicious, right?!)
But, in our quest to eat more real food, this caught my attention. I had ZERO intention of putting any of this healthy
shit food into MY mouth, but I figured I’d check out the recipe as a potential snack for the wee one and for Josh, who actually does like granola.
Warning: the ingredients? Yeah, someone can just go ahead and forward me my Certified Seed-Eating, Kamut-Knowing Hippie card. They’re hard to find in the store (we don’t have an all-organic grocery store here or anything close, so we make due with the 50×50′ organic section at the store we go to).
Baking with this stuff will probably make you question your sanity, but do what I did and assume you’re not going to eat any and that you’ll just feed it to your unsuspecting family. (You can always keep the back-pocket plan of eating Ben & Jerry’s later behind a locked bathroom door, too. I’m just sayin’.)
For your viewing pleasure, the ingredients (and where I found them in the store, since I found that to be a very helpful addition to BEB’s original post):
puffed kamut (or puffed rice or puffed wheat) [kamut: in the organic cereal/oatmeal aisle on the shelf closest to the floor]
traditional rolled oats (not the quick-cook kind) [Bob's Red Mill Organic; in the gluten-free baking section]
Grape-Nuts cereal [found an organic alternative at the bottom of the organic cereal section]
dried cranberries or chopped dried apricot (or mix of both) [didn't use it. ew.]
salted sunflower seeds [found organic sunflower seeds in the organic bulk bins; unsalted, so added a pinch of salt to the recipe]
raw pumpkin seeds [organic bulk section, FTW!]
cinnamon [if you need help finding this, get to the nearest phone and dial for takeout!]
almond butter (can substitute soy butter or peanut butter), creamy or chunky [get this: I made my own.* raw almonds from the organic bulk section.]
brown rice syrup [gluten-free baking section]
honey [raw honey from the farm! woot!]
light brown sugar [saw no reason to add this, so I just added about a teaspoon of organic molasses to the recipe**]
vanilla [again, if you need help here, go buy something pre-packaged, k? ]
Of all that, the mother-effing puffed kamut and brown rice syrup took the longest to find. Godspeed, bakers!
Anyway, you’ve already seen my modifications to the recipe in the ingredients list. (For the full recipe, check out Brown Eyed Baker.) I’m not a fan of dried fruit, and even though I wasn’t planning on eating these, I didn’t add it. We always have organic raisins on-hand, if it came down to needing them. I think I just increased the grains/seeds to make up for the fruit.
Making this took about 35 minutes, from start to finish. I wouldn’t use a mixer because it’ll destroy the oh-so-freaking-delicious kamut. Want to know what puffed kamut is? HONEY SMACKS, people!!! Remember that cereal? I wasn’t a HUGE fan, because it was overly sweet to me even when I ate garbage cereals like that…but DAMN! Get you some puffed kamut! I’m sure there’s a way to make a Smacks-like version with just whole ingredients like organic puffed kamut & honey or brown rice syrup. It might not be healthy, but at least it won’t be full of who-knows-what…
I digress. (But come ON, I figured out how to make Smacks!)
Anyway, you mix all the dry stuff. I’ve made this a couple times this week and added flax seed the second time around, which was a welcomed addition. Meanwhile, heat up the wet stuff and make the gooey sauce that makes these things work. Mix it, bake it, smash it down into bar form, and voila: homemade granola bars.
Now, the MIRACLE:
MY CHILD ATE THIS
SHIT GLORIOUS HEALTHY SNACK!
My uber-picky, can-smell-healthy-food-at-50-yards child ATE this. You know what else? Since she saw me baking it, she thinks it’s a TREAT! I played right into that and she now thinks granola is some kind of healthy indulgence. She likes this enough that I’ve even explained that it’s nutritious, ans she still wants it!
Sidebar: kids could really get into helping make this, which probably makes them more likely to eat it, too.
The SECOND miracle?!
*I* ATE IT. My picky child has NOTHING on me. The list of things I won’t eat is way longer than the one of things I will. But even though this had almond butter in it (I don’t like the texture), I decided to try a bite. HOLY CRAP, PEOPLE! These are GOOD!
Josh is a fan, too. That means that all three of us agree that these things are really yummy! And they’re pretty healthy!
So, to that end, I’m pretty sure Brown Eyed Baker deserves to be sainted or something, because this really is miraculous. I’m a huge fan of her site and will keep y’all posted if any other recipes from her strike our fancy.
*How to make almond butter (and not get robbed buying it pre-made at the grocery store): buy organic raw almonds. Toast them (about 5″ on a baking tray at 350* or so), or don’t. Dump in food processor (not for the weak; have a good one). Turn it on. Scrape down the sides now and then. Watch as almonds become almond butter. =) Way cheaper than buying it!
**How to make brown sugar: put plain old white sugar in food processor. Add molasses. Blend. Voila. More molasses=darker brown sugar. Not sure on the ratio…I just eyeball it. (Though I didn’t use sugar in this recipe; I just added molasses so that element of the brown sugar flavor would be present in the granola bars. And because I kind of really like molasses! I’m a weirdo like that.)
Go forth, Crunchies, and try these. I’d love to hear what you & your families think of them! And tonight, as our wee one goes to bed, I’ll be saying a little prayer to St. Brown Eyed Baker for the miracle that is a healthy food that my kid actually ENJOYS. BEB, FTW!
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