A friend named Brian asked our family if we had a granola bar recipe that he could make and take on outings with the boys he mentors in Bolivia. I came up with a recipe and named them “Brian’s Patty Cakes”, because you pat them into the pan. This recipe is a slight variation of the recipe I gave to him.
You can experiment with this recipe. For example, you can try a tropical version using dried pineapple, dried mango, coconut and macadamia nuts. Or you can make an autumn version featuring pecans, dried apples and dried cranberries. Be creative with your baking!Vegetable oil or vegetable oil spray 1 cup dried fruits, cut in small pieces water 2 cups oats 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour 1/2 cup chopped nuts 3/8 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (Note: for allergen free substitutions, see the end of the recipe) Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or a 24 cup mini muffin tin with vegetable oil (using a paper towel) or spray with a vegetable oil spray. You can use a fun shaped tin if you have one. I used a heart shaped tin to make these granola “bars”. Cut up the dried fruits if they are large. You can use a mixture of fruits if you desire. For this batch I used 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup chopped dates. I prefer to buy whole, pitted dates and cut them up myself, but chopped dates are available if you prefer. Put the dried fruits in a small pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. While the fruits are sitting in the water, mix together in a large bowl the oats, whole wheat flour, and nuts. In a small microwaveable bowl put the salt, oil, honey or maple syrup and the vanilla extract. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Drain the water from the fruit. Add the honey or maple syrup mixture and the fruit to the oats. Mix well. The mixture should be moist and clump together. If not, add water 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is moist. You can use your (clean) hands to combine the mixture instead of a spoon if this is easier. Spoon the mixture into the oiled muffin cups. Pat down firmly with a spoon. Bake in the preheated 300 degree oven for 15-18 minutes or until the cakes are lightly browned.
Remove the muffin tin from the oven. Set on a rack to cool. Press the “bars” down again with a spoon. Let cool in the muffin tin. When thoroughly cool, remove the “bars” from the muffin tin.
Makes 12 larger granola “bars” or 24 mini granola “bars” (or Patty Cakes) This recipe is easy to double if needed.
Soy free: Use a soy-free oil to grease the muffin cups instead of vegetable spray, as some sprays contain soy.
Tree nut free: Substitute dried fruit for the nuts.
Wheat and Gluten free: Use gluten-free oats. Use gluten-free oat flour or rice flour in place of the whole wheat flour. These items are available from Bob’s Red Mill or your local health food store.
Vegan: Use maple syrup instead of honey.