My family loves granola bars. The problem with commercial bars is, however, they are never quite right. They are often too sweet, full of ingredients you can’t pronounce, and far too many taste like cardboard. (I’m reminded of a certain brand which shall remain nameless. Their commercial offered customers a free box of their all natural granola bars, and if you didn’t like it, the owner of the company would eat the box it came in. I sent back the box, although I’m sure the cardboard tasted better.)
Since it’s just a baked good at its core, I decided to try to make my own granola bars. And so off to Pinterest I go. I found lots of recipes for baked oatmeal, but that really wasn’t what I wanted. I then found a recipe from Smitten Kitchen, a site that I have used before for cookies with great results.
The recipe from Smitten Kitchen bakes the granola in a cake pan, then it is cut up into bars. In my Pinterest travels I found a recipe for personal sized baked oatmeal that I found interesting, and decided to try the bar recipe in cupcake cups.
The recipe itself is very easy and very customizable. Made with very basic ingredients, even I had them in my pantry.
She leaves it open to your choice of fruits and nuts, as long as you meet the proportions. I used almonds, sunflower seeds, raisins and chocolate chips (I used a bit less sugar to compensate for the chocolate chips, since we don’t enjoy an over sweet bar).
I then put them into baking cups, a table spoon at a time, pushing the dough in to make sure it would stick.
I then stuck them in the oven for 40 minutes and off I went to knit.
Now those of you who know anything about baking and have checked out the recipe I used have just said, “OOOOOOHHHHH NOOOOOO”. And quite right.
For what ever reason, my brain was not in the correct baking mode yesterday. You see, when changing a recipe from a cake pan to a muffin tin, one must also alter the baking times. It takes much less time in a muffin tin than in a cake pan, since there is less space taken up by the batter.
Now normally I would catch myself since I rely on my sense of smell when baking. The moment it smells done, regardless of the time left on my oven timer, I check it. I’ve learned that every recipe is written for the writers oven; and my oven is not her oven. I’ve had far too many things come out burnt/undercooked using recommended timings. And so I should have caught the smell of these long before the timer went off.
But, as I said, I was knitting. With that wonderful yarn. I’m sure I only got 3 stitches done (at least that’s what it felt like) when the timer went off. And as soon as the timer went off, I KNEW. I could smell those burnt raisins. And that’s not a pleasant smell.
I’ll definitely be making these again, but perhaps I’ll find something else to do while they are in the oven rather than knit. Like housecleaning or something else otherwise distasteful so I pay attention.