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Tuesday
Mar132012

Take Along Snack

Today there are so many prepackaged cereal snack bars available on the market, so it can make you dizzy trying to decide which one to pick. Yes, there are some good ones, but why not make your own? 

Let’s begin by understanding this recipe I've created. Oats are the main body of the recipe, so that ingredient is the constant. Other than that, you can be creative with several substitutions based on your personal preference and ingredients you have on hand. If you don’t have dried blueberries but have dried apricots - fee free to substitute! Have sliced almonds, but no walnuts, no problem. OK, you get the idea.

My Oat Bars are perfect for take-along snack for traveling. You can also share your own snack bars at the office, bake sales, church socials, or your next tailgate. 

Oat Bars
Recipe by George Hirsch | Makes 2 dozen bars

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup desiccated coconut (shredded & dried)
1/4 cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds, or mixed
1/4 cup pecans or walnuts, or mixed; chopped
2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons, maple syrup
2 Tablespoons butter or canola oil, plus enough to grease parchment
1/2 cup mixed dried fruit, raisins, blueberries and cranberries
2 large ripe bananas, mashed 
1/4 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon cinnamon  
pinch fresh grated nutmeg

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. 

Line a 9-inch-baking sheet pan with parchment paper allowing two inches to over lap sides of pan. Brush parchment paper with melted butter.

Spread oats, coconut, nuts and seeds on another baking pan and toast in oven just until very light brown, about 5 minutes, stirring once. Use caution not to over brown. 

In a small saucepan, combine butter, honey, and maple syrup. Stir over low heat until warmed. In a separate large bowl, mix together toasted oats, coconut, seeds, dried fruit, mashed banana, applesauce, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour butter mixture over and stir until well combined. 

While mixture is warm, spread into lined parchment baking pan with a spatula. Bake until brown, 25 to 30 minutes, remove and allow to cool. 

Lift parchment by grabbing the sides of paper and place on a cutting board. Cut into bars, about 1 1/2 inches by 3 inches.

For extra crisp bars, toast bars in oven. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees. Lay cut bars out on a clean baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in a 300 degree oven until bars crisp, about 15-20 minutes.

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