Baking Chez Moi: Granola Energy Bars

Beautiful Headline BarsAwesome Ellie BarsCommercial energy bars tend to be a colossal suckfest.  There’s always some super funky ingredient listed that sounds like it was meant to strip varnish.  I have a few store bought granola bars that aren’t too terrible and give me that little bit of energy I need to get me going when I’m out on the trail.  The best energy bars I’ve ever had are the ones I’ve made myself.  Simple ingredients like nuts, grains and fruit with a little something added to provide me with some protein to sustain my energy and a taste of natural sweetness.

I was really excited to try the Granola Energy Bar recipe in Baking Chez Moi-particulary after the richness of the holiday season.  Brown rice syrup was a new ingredient for me and after trying it out I just don’t think it’s for me.  The taste was just a little too sweet and it left me with a funny feeling. I decided to try a combination of my favorite energy bar recipe from Ellie Krieger  with Dorie’s ingredients.

These are Dorie's ingredients.  I changed it up a little bit for the alternate version I made.
These are Dorie’s ingredients. I changed it up a little bit for the alternate version I made.

My first bars I followed the ingredient list exactly.  For the second version I skipped the butter, brown rice syrup and vanilla and instead used maple syrup, eggs, cinnamon and cardamom.  I meant to add some powdered non-fat milk to my mix but forgot it at the last minute.

Toasted GranolaToasted Granola with Cherries CoconutThe oats and nuts get a light toasting and I kept that in for both bars.  The smell of toasting oats is pretty heavenly on a rainy day.  Afterwards both batches were mixed with cherries and coconut although I opted for the flaked, unsweetened coconut on the second batch.

Brown rice syrup and butter drop
Dorie’s version with butter and brown rice syrup.
Maple syrup for bars
Ellie’s version with eggs and maple syrup.

 

 

Hot brown syrupGranola Swirl The ingredients used to bind our granola is where these two recipes really diverge.  One uses a combination of butter and brown rice syrup flavored with vanilla to get the granola to stick.  The other uses eggs and maple syrup whirred up after giving the granola a pulse or two on its own.

Sticky Granola MassGranola Paste

One creates a gooey mass of whole oats, seeds, nuts and fruit and the other creates more of a paste.  Both of them are squished down so that they can later be cut into bars.

Freaking gorgeous bars
The original recipe makes some really beautiful bars.
Inside View of Dorie Bars
I love the look of the whole granola, nuts and fruit.

The first batch really looked gorgeous. We decided to nibble before taking them with us on a hike. The taste was just too sweet and after about 30 minutes I felt a little off.  Really these bars almost reminded me more of a cookie.  Definitely not great food to pack for a long hike-at least for me.  Scott wasn’t really a fan of these either.

Gorgeous Ellie Bars
The alternate recipe isn’t quite as breathtaking but it sure is scrumptious.

Cut Edge Ellie Bars

Sadly it was raining here when I made the second batch so I didn’t get to trail test them.  We did get to ‘watch terrible movies while in bed’ test them and they were pretty great.  Much less sweet but just sweet enough.  The cinnamon and cardamom were perfect with the cherries, almonds and pepitas.

Next time I go to make some energy granola bars I think I’ll try another combo of the two.  Keep the toasted granola base and use the egg and syrup binder but I’ll probably try and reserve some of the oats an seeds to mix into the paste so I get more of the whole pieces.  I’ll also try and remember the powdered milk and maybe even throw in a few mini chocolate chips for a tiny bit of added richness.

-Christie

 

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18 thoughts on “Baking Chez Moi: Granola Energy Bars

  1. I love Ellie Krieger. I have made many of her recipes. I used to watch her show on the Food Network. Glad you were able to make 2 recipes. Sounds like you will be able to bake and tweak to your own style.

  2. I thought the ability to customize to your own taste was one of the beauties of this recipe. I’d really like to eliminate the butter and try that egg-maple syrup (or maybe agave?) mixture to bind them.

  3. First of all, your bars look wonderful. They look even more wonderful in that sunshine shot as it is deep wintery snow cold and ice here and any shots of sunshine anywhere have a magical mystical quality. Second, love those bars of Ellie Krieger’s, I’m cooking Ellie recipes every week here. And last but not least, you had me totally with that cinnamon switch-up. Oh, cinnamon would be so good in these bars! Thanks for the ideas.

  4. Thank you for sending these to the office. I hope you didn’t mean for me to share them, because I am not going to 🙂

  5. I’ve not added eggs to my granola bars before but it sounds interesting. I wonder why yours turned out super sweet? I didn’t use the brown rice syrup (didn’t have any) so I used honey and unsweetened coconut and mine were a hit and not too sugary. Now I’m curious!
    cheers

  6. When I tasted my bars, I thought they could be a little sweeter! The recipe you linked to sounds like a keeper and I am bookmarking the page to give it a try but without the milk powder.

  7. Nice looking bars. I really enjoyed Dorie’s recipe, and found them to be perfect hiking food. I’m wondering if it is the rice syrup – I used golden syrup., and will be making these again using the rice syrup. It will be interesting to see if there is much difference in the sweetness. I too like Ellie. I have a couple of her books. But I like that Dorie’s recipe is gluten free – so many people I know, have gone this route.

  8. Thanks for all the great information! I’m going to save this post as I prefer something even less sweet than the brown rice syrup as well (though I thought it was fine). I also like the idea of reserving some of the oats, etc., so you can get the look of Dorie’s bars. Good stuff!

  9. When I traveled through Jordan and Israel I developed a love for cardamon coffee and now every time I smell that spice it reminds me of that amazing time in my life. The bars you made would have made my tummy very happy. Oh and the fact that you use the word suckfest confirms that this is my kind of blog.

  10. Great post with your comparisons! I make my own granola, and use the egg/cinnamon. Good tips on these. I still have to make them (maybe in a bit), but will definitely combine some elements (was already going to use maple syrup). that you suggested!!

  11. Your bars look lovely, I was also under the mistaken impression that they would be light but that was soon cleared up when I had a few and didnt want lunch!. I’m sure the butter helped!

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