Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Banana Granola Bars: No flour, no eggs, no butter.

 WHAT?! Again I have made something with no butter?! It is true.  I am not sure what has gotten in to me, but butter has been lasting a lot longer in this apartment.  Recipe first, then we shall discuss.

-2 Excessively ripe bananas, like those super brown ones that are perfect for banana bread
-1 C plus 3 TB oats
-1/4 C Raisins (I used golden)
-1/4 C chopped pecans
-3 TB Honey
-1/4 C Unsweetened applesauce
-1 Tsp(ish) of cinnamon
-2 shakes of ginger

I broke up the bananas into smaller pieces and tossed them in the kitchenaid with all of the remaining ingredients.  Give it a good mix on medium speed until it is all combined well.  This made a more moist batter than the nutella ones did, obviously, so yours should turn out moist but holding together well. 

I preheated the oven to 350, scraped the sides of my bowl, and plopped the blob of granola bar batter onto parchment paper covering my jelly roll pan.  Honestly, I really think I need to use my cookie sheet or other pans, I am working that poor jelly roll pan to death.

Anyway, I baked these for about 27 minutes.  They are firm but not crunchy, which is just fine by me.  They really almost could make a form of bread if they were cut just a little differently.  I am very happy with how they turned out.

In fact, I have really enjoyed making granola bars in general.  I always like to learn a new "dough" if you will.  I think one of the most important things to realize as a newbie baker (which I really consider myself still a novice on most things) is that if you know what a particular dough is supposed to feel like, you have a lot of flexibility.

Take granola bars for example.  My experimenting with them began when I made the banana bread cookies a few weeks ago, which started with a hybrid of my graham cracker recipe.  Then I realized that more oats, and a few little tweaks would turn them into something like a soft granola (thanks for advice mom!).  But I know what a graham cracker dough should look like, know what a cheese-it cracker dough looks like, know what cake batter should look like, same for both rolled and drop cookies, brownie batter, etc.  If you know the feel of something, it makes it a lot easier to alter things and experiment without disastrous results.

As you experiment with flavors, just remember that the most important thing is to have something to hold it all together.  Don't be afraid to give them a whirl, I would argue that they are not nearly as hard as some people make them out to be.  Of my two granola bar batters, the nutella one stuck together when firmly pressed.  It needed more coaxing and as such the granola bars turned out more crunchy and less moist than these, but still easy to eat.  For the banana batter, when I scraped the sides of the bowl down to where the batter was, it held its shape with little to no coaxing and looked almost like a ball when I was done scraping the sides.  That hopefully will give a little idea to two very different textures that turned out just fine for me.

Happy crafting!

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