Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
91 degree days, as was the case this past Sunday, in a major city--such as Boston; sprawling with urban dwellers, has a way of testing ones will, patience and the sheer ability to breathe. It doesn't help when the main water pipe that supplies Boston and the surrounding cities with clean tap water breaks, making it unsafe to drink, cook with, wash dishes, wash your face, or brush your teeth unless it has been boiled for one minute.
My grandmother says she grew up in a time where it was common to have to boil your water, maybe once a week. I can't tell you how much that made me appreciate modern day advancements. Boiling water for everyday use is a real pain. Not to mention, I can't tell you how many people mistook the words 'boil water order' for 'Apocalypse'. They were acting like animals at the supermarket. It's scary to think what a real emergency would look like.
As it was too hot to bake, I decided to make those chocolate chip granola bars I saw being made on "Martha Stewart" earlier in the week. With a few tweaks and additions of my own, they turned out awesome! I also used the break from cooking to complete Milan Kundera's "The Unbearable Lightness of Being." 'To be, or not to be: There is no question!' And watch things grow in around my backyard. Nature is awesome. And so are chocolate chips.
I'm all in favor of a National Nature and Chocolate Chip Day. Anyone with me?
Recipe courtesy and adapted from what I remember of an episode of "Martha Stewart" that aired last week and The Suburban Jungle
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups oatmeal (I used Quaker, quick-1 minute oats)
1 cup rice krispies (or whole wheat equivalent from health food store, like Whole Foods)
1/2 or 3/4 (if you like a lot) chocolate chips
1/2 cup nut of your choice, I used almonds
1/2 cup shredded coconut flakes, I used sweetened
You can mix and match all your own favorites.
Step one is totally optional. I spread oats evenly over cookie sheet that's been covered in parchment paper and toast the oats in an oven that's been preheated to 350degrees for 10-15 minutes--just to give them a nuttier flavor, but you can omit this step if you like.
In large bowl, add three cups of oats and one cup of rice krispies, or a whole wheat equivalent. In same bowl, add coconut if you're using it. If using nuts, see next step. If not, Mix cereal to incorporate.
The next step is optional: If you're using nuts, in my case I used blanched slivered almonds, you can lightly toast them in small sauté pan over medium heat by adding a teaspoon of oil to pan and nuts and allowing them to brown slightly. This will only take a minute or two. Add nuts to oats mixture. Mix to incorporate.
Or you can leave nuts raw and add them to oats mixture.
In small sauce pan, add canola oil, brown sugar, honey and cinnamon. Bring to a gentle boil and immediately remove from heat. Add vanilla extract and whisk liquid mixture together.
Pour the liquid mixture over the oats and stir until all the cereal is coated.
Wait until the mixture has cooled some and then add chocolate chips. Mix chips into cereal mixture. *Note: I added the chips in a little too soon and they melted, but were still totally delicious once the granola set, so no worries if this happens to you.
Spray a bar pan (the one I used was 32 x 23 x 5, but smaller would work just as well) with a non-stick cooking spray, like Pam. Add mixture to sprayed pan and gently spread evenly, patting down mixture so the top appears even. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes, or until mixture has set.
Prepare your ingredients
Mix your oats and rice krispies together
Add the your toasted or blanched nuts to cereal
After the liquid mixture has been added, stir to cover cereal completely, allow to cool and add chocolate chips
Spread evenly in a large sprayed bar pan
After the mixture has been refrigerated, cut into bars and serve.
I'm not quite sure what these lovely flowers are called, but I have several growing around my backyard in red and pink
These are called Hostas
Remember my budding strawberry plants from last week's post? This is them just a little over a week later.
In one woman's opinion, I think the world would be a better place if more people grew things, or at least took a little time to stop and watch things growing around them.