While up in Lancaster, NH last weekend, we went to a great Farmer's Market. I didn't expect too much for such a small town, but their market really blew Nashua's Farmer's Market out of the water (sorry Nash, but you guys only have 7 or 8 stands and this one had well over a dozen).
The market had a wide variety of goods for sale: fresh produce, eggs, meat, cheeses, lots of fresh bread and other bakery items, sheep's wool, sweaters, wood crafts, plants, etc. We were drawn to one of the bakeries that was offering samples, and ended up buying several of their homemade granola bars. They were really good and we snacked on them for the rest of the weekend.
I decided that I wanted to make my own granola bars, using these as inspiration, but leaving out the butter and extra sugar. So I set out to make them...
Before we get any further, let me just say that this was not a total success. What I made turned out to be delicious granola, but the bar part didn't exactly happen. So if you want to make granola bars, you're going to need to do some tweaking.
...back to the granola. I started by spraying a loaf pan with cooking spray and then dusting the bottom with coconut.
In addition to oats, I used the ingredients that were most appealing to me (and those that happened to be in my kitchen) but you can really use whatever you want.
Then I mixed in some wet stuff - vanilla, fig preserves, and agave syrup.
And then I pressed it all into the loaf pan. I think if I had stopped there I might have been able to form these into bars (although I'll have to try again and let you know).
Instead I decided that it was a good idea to bake it. For 30 minutes at 325 degrees. (I removed the saran wrap first).
Needless to say, when it came out of the oven, it wasn't sticking together because the "wet" ingredients had dried up. So instead of granola bars I got...granola.
About 5 servings
- 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 cup organic oats
- 1/4 cup craisins
- 1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
- 1/4 cup organic dried apple slices, chopped
- 1/4 cup organic almond slices
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp organic fig preserves
- 1 1/2 tbsp organic agave syrup
- cooking spray
- Coat the inside of a loaf pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle coconut flakes on the bottom of pan.
- In a large bowl, combine oats, craisins, apricots, apples and almonds. Stir to combine.
- Add vanilla, fig and agave syrup to the bowl and stir until wet ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Transfer to loaf pan and press down to compact.
- Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes, or until desired doneness.
I used as many organic ingredients as possible in this granola. I also used agave syrup instead of honey or molasses because agave has a low glycemic index, which means your blood sugar doesn't spike like it does with many other sweeteners. Agave syrup is also sweeter than honey and sugar, so you can use less of it.
Even though I didn't get my bars, I was not disappointed with the taste. Really good on its own, or in a container of Greek yogurt...which I'm having at my desk right now.
I'd like to have some with milk, and also try topping a smoothie with some of this.
Just a few more hours of work until a long weekend! What are your plans for the 4th of July?
Tonight I'm having a girls night with Whitney and Steph, and then Pat and I are going camping for the rest of the weekend (not sure where yet, I haven't been given any details).