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Archive for June 19th, 2006

Baking Granola Bars

Monday, June 19th, 2006

Well, food is an artform. Unfortunately, I’m not much of an artist in that realm. I do keep trying and eventually I get it, but I don’t guess well sometimes when substituting.

For example, I can’t eat corn syrup so honey is a good texture/moisture substitute. Except I don’t like the taste of honey. It works fine in brownies where you can’t taste much besides the cocoa, but I’m now trying to make granola bars. I did honey the first two times, today I tried molasses. I think next time I’ll do half and half, because the molasses is too strong even though I like the taste.

Actually, the recipe as it came to me is fine but a bit sweet and more like cookies than my idea of granola. So of course I made it once with minimal substitutions and then started in messing things up!

It calls for wheat germ. I’m allergic to wheat. Diana says that wheat germ has a lot of oil content. The first time I made the granola bars I substituted golden flax seeds and that worked pretty well. Second time I just increased the oats (thinking that the wheat germ was there for texture) and that dried things out. This time I put in dark flax seeds, but only half as much as the amount of wheat germ called for. That seems to work OK.

It calls for wheat flour. I substituted spelt flour (related to wheat but it does not give me trouble) and that worked OK. However, it’s boring and cookie-like. This time I subbed part buckwheat flour, part oat flour, part rice flour. I use that combination a lot in baked goods, so I knew it would work fine and add a bit of flavor.

I use a flax seed meal and boiling water combination to sub for eggs. This time I used less flax seed meal with the same amount of water. This batch is not holding together as well as previous batches but I don’t know if it’s the egg substitute, the flour sub or any other change I made.

Oh, and it called for brown sugar on top of the honey/molasses. I chatted with Peggy at my computer class tonight. She made these according to the recipe, mostly, and felt they didn’t need the brown sugar at all. So I used half the brown sugar it called for.

When I mixed up the dough, it seemed so wet I added more oats into the mix. I wonder what things I did to the recipe that made the dough so much more wet than the previous two batches. I wonder if the molasses is wetter than honey. I also wonder if the flour substitution is part of the issue.

Since I had molasses in these, I added ginger and allspice. I like the idea of these, and they did bake up well, they did remove from the pan well. They crumble when you look at them sideways, though. And even with the (smaller amount of) brown sugar they seem sort of rustic. I still will need to tweak and tweak and tweak. Food is definitely an artform, don’t you agree?

But hey… this is food I can eat. And it’s a bit of a treat. And I can put one or two in a baggie in my purse and have something to tide me over. This batch may turn into a million crumbs but it will still be fuel for me on the road.

When I finally get a batch I like, I will share the final recipe with you. Meanwhile, I’m going to enjoy these with tea, crumbs or not.