Jane’s Sweets & Baking Journal -- janessweets.blogspot.com -- January 2013

Honey Oat Granola Bars with Dried Blueberries

(This recipe is adapted from the book, Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours, by Kim Boyce with Amy Scattergood; Stewart Tabori & Chang, 2013. Please see pages 128-129, “Granola Bars.” Specific changes I made to the formula are detailed in my Jan. 28, 2013 blog post associated with this recipe.)

Yield: 16 squares (made in a 9" x 9" pan)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

2 cups rolled oats (I used a mixture of both old fashioned- and quick oats; just what I had on hand.)

2 tablespoons wheat germ, toasted (To toast, spread on a small cookie sheet; bake in 325 oven for 10 minutes, just until slightly darker in color and nutty smelling.)

1 quarter cup, plus 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal

3 tablespoons sunflower seeds (I used roasted and salted sunflower seeds.)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 pinch ground nutmeg

1/2 cup dried blueberries (If you don't have dried blueberries, try raisins or dried cherries/cranberries instead.)

1/2 cup honey

1/4 dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon molasses, unsulphured

1 teaspoon salt (I used coarse sea salt.)

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9" x 9" square pan with vegetable spray, or butter it liberally ((I used a metal pan, but a glass baking dish is fine too, and I used the spray instead of butter).

Melt the butter in a large, heavy pot (I used a dutch oven). Add in the oats, and stir to combine with the butter. Cook over a medium flame for about six minutes. You want the oats to turn a little darker.

Dump the oats into a large heat-proof bowl. Wipe out the pot and put it aside/back on the stove; you'll use it later to make the syrup.

Add the toasted wheat germ, the flaxseed meal, the sunflower seeds, the cinnamon, and the nutmeg into the bowl with the oats. Stir well to combine, then stir in the dried blueberries.

For the syrup, heat the honey, brown sugar, molasses, and salt in the pot over a medium flame. Stir to combine and then let the mixture simmer at a low boil for approximately 6 minutes. (It needs to boil that long, according to author Kim Boyce, in order to give the granola bars their chewiness.) 

Pour all of the syrup over the dry ingredients, scraping as much as possible out of the pan. Working quickly, use a flexible rubber spatula to mix in the syrup (you can butter/spray your spatula if you like; helps facilitate the stirring). Keep mixing until everything in the bowl looks like it's well coated with the syrup.

Scrape the granola into your pan and, with buttered hands, evenly and firmly press it down (it will still be kind of hot, so be prepared).

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (rotating the pan once, after about 13 minutes), until the granola looks nicely shiny and darker than when you put it in the oven. Let the bars cool in the pan, on a rack, for 10 minutes, then cut them into 16 squares while they're still in the pan. (If you wait too long to cut them, you won't be able to neatly do so since they'll become too hard.) Use a rigid metal spatula to remove them from the pan, piece by piece, to finish cooling on the cooling rack.

Store in an airtight container, at room temperature.