Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Mmm, Snacks!

I love to experiment with new recipes. My companion tells people we never eat the same thing twice, and that's mostly true. When the mail carrier tucks new copies of Bon Appetit, Gourmet or Cooking Light in our mailbox, I'm usually poring over the new issue by nightfall. Part of it is that I like to cook seasonally, but I also like the challenge of a new recipe, in addition to the sense of anticipation that comes from wondering what something will look and taste like when it's finished.

That being said, I do have a few treasured recipes that comprise my unique repertoire, my collection of no-fail, fabulous things to make for all kinds of occasions. One of my mainstays is this recipe for chewy coconut granola bars, which I've adapted from a Cooking Light recipe. You can have these bad boys in the oven in less than 20 minutes, and you can pop one in your mouth for breakfast, a snack, or dessert. I have this habit of baking late at night, and these homemade granola bars are perfect for late-night, "extreme baking," as we call any baking that takes place after 10 p.m. These healthy confections don't take so long that I regret what I've started as I'm baking away in my pj's and starting to get sleepy.

Chewy Coconut Granola Bars
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons skim milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat granola without raisins (I've used oats in a pinch.)
  • 3/4 cup chopped dried mixed fruit (like Marian Premium Tropical Medley)
  • 1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut


  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Coat a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray; dust with 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour. Lightly spoon 2/3 cup all-purpose flour and whole-wheat flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine sugar, oil, milk, and eggs in a large bowl;beat with a whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture, stirring until blended. Fold in granola and fruit. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with coconut.
  • Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack. Makes 20 granola bars.


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