When blondes bake: A true story of near misses

Last week, to start 2012 right, our youth group participated in a time of fasting and prayer. Since I occasionally help out at youth group (or loiter in the back some weeks…), this sounded like a fantastic way to begin the year. December had gone in the record books as The Month of Gluttony (and I had the tight pants to prove it), so breaking free from some of the strongholds food works to have in my life appealed to me on several levels. Without going into the details, the week of fasting and prayer yielded some wonderful things for those of us who participated! By Saturday, however, I saw the one major drawback: although fasting may be beneficial to your spiritual health, it is terrible for my mental acuity. Case in point: this new recipe that I found for homemade granola bars seemed so easy on paper, but I made several mistakes in making it my first go-round that added time to my preparation. Somehow they still ended up tasting delicious, with all the kids raving about them. If you correctly follow the simple instructions for making them, however, I think you too will find them easy to create but hard to resist.


Start out with the usual suspects of butter and sugars, both packed brown and white.


Give them a whirl until they are light and fluffy (or if you’re me, and you use the brown sugar that’s clumpy, you’ll have to mash the clumps with a fork that refuse to be incorporated into the creamed mixture. Add a few extra minutes on to your prep time if you fall into that category.) Then add honey, vanilla, and egg, and mix well.



Next, mix the dry ingredients of flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. The recipe goes on to clearly instruct the reader to add only these dry ingredients gradually to the creamed mixture, but with my foggy brain, I threw in the rice krispies and oats before realizing that those two ingredients probably wouldn’t fare too well when put against the mixer. As soon as I stirred them together, I knew that the rice krispies especially would probably turn to powder, so I put the entire dry mixture into a strainer that you see below to try and separate the flour and oats/krispies. It worked fairly well, but again, added more time (and more dirtied dishes) to the process.



After sifting flour mixture, mix gradually into creamed mixture.



THEN stir in the rice krispies and oats. If you’d like, you can also add nuts, chocolate chips, and/or raisins to the mixture. You could even go *crazy* and add cranberries! For this maiden batch, however, I only added chocolate chips, mostly because I was restricted by what was in my pantry.



The mixture will be nice and crumbly yet not too dry.


The last step is to press it into a greased 9×13 pan and bake in a 350 oven for about 25-30 minutes. This go-round it definitely only took 25 minutes to bake. In fact, I wish I’d set the oven to only 20 minutes because the edges got a little more brown than I liked. No one else complained or even commented on it, though, so I didn’t point it out. I’m sneaky like that.


Let cool and then cut into bars. Enjoy the chewy goodness. Use as a bartering system. Trade your favorite Pokemon cards or offer to do chores for others in order to get theirs. Whatever it takes. They turned out to be quite excellent, despite my best efforts to sabotage them.


Chewy Granola Bars

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1 cup all-purpose flour (I used ww)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats

1 1/4 cups crisp rice cereal

1 cup chopped nuts

1 cup raisins or semi-sweet chocolate chips, optional

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the honey, vanilla, and egg; mix well. Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in oats, cereal, nuts, and raisins or chips if desired.

Press into a greased 9×13″ baking pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Yield: 2 dozen


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