Bakers Journal

Formula: Crunchy Granola Bars

March 21, 2023
By Maggie Firth, The Magpie Cakery


This recipe is provided by Maggie Firth, owner of The Magpie Cakery in Toronto, which offers virtual and in-person custom events for companies looking to host unique, fun and delicious team-building activities. Firth was a semi-finalist on season 4 of CBC’s Great Canadian Baking Show.

Yield: 20 to 24 delicious and nutritious granola bars

Ingredients

Granola bars:
160 grams (1 cup) whole raw almonds
105 grams (3/4 cup)  pistachios
240 grams (2 cups) large flaked oats, divided
105 grams (3/4 cup raisins (or equivalent weight of another dried fruit, roughly chopped)
70 grams (1/2 cup)  pumpkin seeds
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons avocado oil (or melted coconut oil)
192 grams (3/4 cup) natural peanut or almond butter (unsalted, sugar-free)
115 grams (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) pure maple syrup or pure natural liquid honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg whites (or 1/4 cup pasteurized, boxed egg whites)

Dark chocolate topping (optional):
75 grams (1/2 cup) chopped dark chocolate (1/4 to 1/2-inch chunks)
1 tablespoon avocado oil (or melted coconut oil)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

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Method

For the granola bars:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Spread almonds, pistachios and oats onto the baking sheet in a thin layer (attempt to keep oats
    and nuts separate) and roast until slightly darkened and toasty smelling, about 10 to 12 minutes.
    Carefully remove about 1 cup of the oats from the baking sheet and transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Transfer the remaining oats, almonds and pistachios to a food processor and let cool slightly.
  4.  Reduce oven temperature to 325 F. Line a 9 by 13-inch baking pan (or 2, 8 by 8-inch
    baking pans) with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on both long sides of the pan (this will act
    as a “handle” when lifting cooled bars out of the pan).
  5. Pulse together the 1 cup of oats, almonds and pistachios in the food processor until the nuts are
    roughly chopped, about 12, 1-second pulses. Transfer the mixture to the large bowl with the
    reserved 1 cup of oats.
  6. To the large bowl, add the dried fruit, pumpkin seeds and salt, and stir to combine. Next add the
    avocado oil and stir with a fork to combine.
  7. In a small saucepan, stir together the nut butter, maple syrup and vanilla, and bring to a bare
    simmer over medium-low heat, stirring constantly (about 2 to 3 minutes). Immediately scrape the
    nut butter mixture over the oat mixture in the large bowl, and stir with a spatula to evenly combine.
    Ensure there are no dry patches.
  8. Whisk egg whites together in a small bowl. Add to the oat mixture and stir until well combined.
  9. Transfer mixture to prepared pan(s), and press firmly into an even layer. Be sure to compress the
    mixture into the pan, using the bottom of a metal measuring cup or the bottom of a heavy glass.
    Use damp fingers to press the mixture in along the edges of the pan. The more compact the
    mixture, the better the granola bars will hold together once baked.
  10. Bake at 325 F until granola bars are golden brown and fragrant, about 22 to 25 minutes.
  11. Let cool completely in pan, then use the parchment sling to remove granola bars from pan and set
    on a cutting board. Using a serrated knife to start and a sharp chef’s knife to finish the job, cut in
    half lengthwise, then crosswise, making even bars that are approximately 4 to 4 1/2-inches by 1
    1/4-inches each (20 bars total if using a 9 by 13-inch pan, and 24 bars if using 2, 8 by 8-inch pans).
  12. Sprinkle with a little extra sea salt before enjoying!

For the chocolate topping (optional)

  1. Combine all ingredients together in a small bowl and microwave on high power until melted,
    about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring after each 30-second interval.
  2. Once the bars have cooled, drizzle the chocolate onto the granola bars or dip the tops of the bars
    into the chocolate, and set aside in the fridge to harden.

Storage

  • Granola bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a week or in the freezer for up to a month.
  • If opting for the Dark Chocolate Topping, store granola bars in an airtight container in the fridge.

Tips

  • The texture of the granola bars depends on how firmly the mixture is pressed into the pan prior to baking. The bottom of a metal measuring cup or a heavy glass will do; however, if you have a tart pan with a removable metal base, this is what I use to press down firmly on the granola mixture – works like a charm!
  • Make sure to let the granola bars cool completely in the pan before transferring to a cutting board – you will know more cooling time is needed if they bend when you use the parchment sling to lift them out.

Listen to Bakers Journal’s informative podcast with Maggie.

For more recipes, tips and suggestions for healthy alternative ingredients, visit themagpiecakery.com.


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