Tag Archives: granola

Chewy granola bars

When life gives you smashed bananas, bake something!


That’s my new favorite saying and these are my new favorite thing to make with smashed bananas. In June, when I was hit by a car on my bike in Annapolis, MD, I made banana bread with the battered bananas that had been in my backpack. This is probably the easiest way to produce baking-worthy bananas around here, since I eat them up faster than they can ripen.
This time the beautiful bunch of perfect fruit I bought at Trader Joe’s in Manhattan went for quite a ride in our latest sailing disaster. By the way, I was so excited to find my favorite store blocks from where we were moored. I stocked up all my usual TJ’s fare. The sailing disaster was the scariest experience of my life so far. I’ll give the short version here but the full account is on my other blog, Pirat.
It was 6pm, very dark, and Lee and I were finishing our dinner in the cockpit. I looked over my shoulder to see a breaking wave about to hit our boat. Chaos ensued. We had come upon an uncharted shoal off the coast of New Jersey (Who knew New Jersey could be so treacherous!). Several walls of whitewater knocked our boat on it’s side and the keel (heavy thing on bottom of boat) thunked against the bottom a couple of times. I thought we were going to be smashed to bits and have to be rescued. We made it off, though, and pulled into Atlantic City, where we’d been heading in the first place, within a couple of hours.
Among the things to go flying down below was the bunch of bananas. I think Lee stepped on them while they were on the floor. I just stepped in the remains of my sweet potato from dinner. Yum.

On to the baking! These granola bars were next on my list of things to make anyway so I was actually kind of excited to have all the ingredients ready. It was very satisfying and therapeutic to whip up a sweet treat during our recover day.
I based my bars on quite a few granola bar recipes from all over the place. As with granola, finding the perfect recipe seemed impossible. I’m too picky about what goes into a good granola bar. I did like the idea of using mashed bananas and they made the end product fabulously soft and chewy. After enjoying the tasty combination of banana and coconut oil in my Banana Bran Scones, I opted to use coconut oil in the granola bars as well. It’s flavor is much stronger than in the scones and I love the banana-coconut fragrance these gave off when baking.
Nut and fruit additions are totally customizable. I used slivered almonds and no dried fruit but I think chopped dates and walnuts or pecans would be delicious. I may try toasting the nuts for more flavor next time and adding a little vanilla or almond exratact.


Featured on Baking is Hot

Chewy Granola Bars
Makes about 12 bars

Dry Ingredients
2 3/4 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup flaxseed meal
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
Wet ingredients
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup agave syrup or honey
2 soft bananas
1 egg (or egg replacer equivalent for vegan version)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
optional: 1/4 – 1/2 cup dried fruit

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Melt coconut oil in a medium-sized saucepan over very low heat.
When it is completely liquified, add bananas and mash them thoroughly.
Add agave and egg and beat well till everything is combined.
Pour the oatmeal mix into the saucepan with the wet ingredients, stir everything up, and add the nuts and fruit (if using).

Time to get messy!
Scoop about 1/4 – 1/3 cup of the mixture into your hands. Shape it into an oblong bar (I found cupping my palms together worked well) and place it on cookie sheet with a non-stick baking surface (silicone mat or parchment).
I got 13 bars of about the same size out of my mixture but you can make them as big or small as you want. They also don’t have to be bar-shaped – make them round and they look like cookies! I do think shaping them rather than spreading the whole mixture in a pan and cutting it after baking is a good idea. The bars seem crumbly but they firm up nicely.
Bake for 15 minutes at 350.
Place on a wire rack to cool, and try a bar right out of the oven. Yum!


Filed under other goodies

Not so sweet but nice and crunchy granola



        I’ve been on the hunt for a good granola recipe for a long time. Maybe it would be more accurate to say I’ve been looking for the right granola recipe for a long time. There are tons of really good ones out there but I am looking for something very specific in my granola. Of course it needs to be healthful and tasty. I prefer it to be made with the most basic, whole ingredients (homemade granola made with store-bought cereal makes very little sense to me). Nuts are good, but not too many. I’d consider dried fruit but I always add fresh fruit to my cereal when I eat it anyway. Finally, too much oil and sugar moves granola from a healthy breakfast or snack into the realm of candy.
        With all the granola recipes I’ve been wanting to make filed away for reference, I set out to come up with my own mix this morning. I was inspired by Steph Chows Mixed Berry Sucanat Granola to use applesauce as a replacement for oil. Now what about the sugar? My favorite brand of granola, Nature’s Path Hemp Plus, is hardly sweet at all. It’s lumpy, crunchy, light, and very satisfying. This morning I threw a few things in a bowl to try to recreate those characteristics. I was also just trying to use up the dregs of various ingredients in my pantry.


Not So Sweet Granola

2 cups thick cut rolled oats
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
2 cups wheat bran
1/4 cup flax seed meal
1/4 cup slivered almonds – or more if you’re more nutty than I am!
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
*1 cup applesauce
optional sweetener: 1/3 cup sucanat, maple syrup, agave, or honey

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Add the applesauce and optional sweetener.
Mix until all dry ingredients are coated.
Spread evenly on a cookie sheet lightly coated with oil or lined with parchment/a silicone mat. (It helps if the cookie sheet has rims around the edge so the granola doesn’t go sliding off.)
Bake at 325 for about 45 minutes, checking and stirring things around a couple times during baking.
Cool completely on the cookie sheet and then store in an airtight container, adding dried fruit at this point if you’d like.

*I used one small container of unsweetened applesauce and one of sweetened cinnamon applesauce because that’s what I had left.


        For this batch (lets call it Granola #1) I didn’t use any sweetener. I wanted to see what granola made with just applesauce would taste like and if it would even work. Well, it worked and it tastes great! It’s not sweet at all but it tastes pleasantly nutty from the flax and almonds and it’s very crunchy. The applesauce holds everything together nicely. So far I’ve just snacked on Granola #1 plain but I’m looking forward to trying it with some vanilla greek yogurt and a banana tomorrow morning! Next time I’ll try adding some maple syrup to see how that compares.


Filed under other goodies