joyeux cuisine

a blog about good food, family, friends, and life.

homemade granola bars.

Sometimes you have half a canister of oats because you made oatmeal cookies forever ago. Sometimes you also have almonds because your mom bought you a 9 pound bag of them. Sometimes you also have one and a half jars of honey because you found one in your pantry while you were moving. If you’re lucky you also have chocolate chips and coconut because you’re addicted to them. When the stars align and you possess all these ingredients it’s time to make granola bars. Better than store-bought granola bars.

Friends, there are so many granola bar recipes out there that it’s hard to sift through. Some of them have weird ingredients like wheat germ and flax seeds, but I didn’t want to have to buy anything for this recipe. I made it with things that were all in my pantry, which I call a huge success.

Granola bars are one of those things that you can make your own really easily. Dried fruit? Sure! You hate coconut? Alright. Raisins? Totally. Extra chocolate chips? Now you’re speaking my language. You can do whatever you want to make these just like you want them to.

The original recipe comes from The Sisters Cafe. I adapted it a little bit because theirs calls for krispy rice cereal, but I don’t have any so I just used some lightly crushed corn cereal squares that I’ve been meaning to make puppy chow out of. Next time I’m just going to omit them entirely though. I also added some almonds because I love chocolate and almond together. I also baked mine in a 9×9 pan instead of an 8×8 and it worked out fine. I would bake them a little longer than the time suggested though. I also toasted my coconut to bring out all the amazing flavors.

Make some granola bars. Take a road trip. Drive with the windows down and radio blasting. And then look for more jobs.

Granola Bars
adapted from The Sisters Cafe
makes 10 granola bars

2 and 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup coconut
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place the coconut over that. Bake for 5-7 minutes until the edges get golden brown. Keep an eye on it though, because it can burn really quickly. Remove and cool slightly. Leave the oven on. Butter an 8×8 or 9×9 pan.
In a large bowl combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, salt, and vanilla. Mix until combined. Add the oats, coconut, almonds, and chocolate chips and stir until everything is coated. Smoosh (technical term) into the buttered pan and bake for 20 minutes. Cool in the pan completely before cutting.
When cool cut into 10 bars and wrap each one individually in plastic wrap. Store in a cool place.

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homemade granola.

I’m watching the opening ceremony for the Olympics right now. Are you watching it? I guess the question right now would be: did you watch them last night too? Even though it just started, I am in awe. (People! Queen Elizabeth just jumped out of a helicopter. Well…at least her stunt double did. Still, awesome.) I love everything about the Olympics so I am in heaven right now. I downloaded the NBC app to keep up with all the coverage and I even went crazy and got the TV Guide app so I’ll know when everything is on. I’m crazy. But I think we all knew that by now.

I’ve been trying to make some healthy things to eat recently. Maybe to combat the fact that I bought a bag of mini Reese’s at Walmart today and then proceeded to eat half the bag. I have no self control when it comes to those. I’m really testing myself with the 10 dozen frozen cookie dough balls in my freezer right now. That number will reach about 17-18 dozen before too long. Hopefully that many will get baked too…we’ll see about that.

(Mary Poppins just destroyed some nightmares. I always knew she was the best nanny ever.)

Are you seeing every delicious thing right now? I’ll spell it out for you. Oats, coconut, pecans, walnuts, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Oh man. This is awesome. These are good things. Not only for making granola but also for you. Walnuts and pecans are full of protein and fiber. Both are really good for you. Unlike the Reese’s I’m eating right now…oh well. You can pretty much put anything you want into granola. Dried fruit, chocolate chips, anything. Make it your own! That’s the beauty.

All that goodness gets drizzled with honey and butter for a sweet topping. Bake that up and it gets golden brown and some parts stick together and get super crunchy. The coconut gets toasted and the flavors meld together beautifully. The cinnamon and nutmeg get even more fragrant in the oven. This granola is perfect for a late morning or early afternoon snack. You can even enjoy it with some milk for breakfast. So make some granola, watch some Olympic coverage, and cheer for your favorite athletes.

Homemade Granola

4 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1 1/2 cups shredded coconut

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/4 cup honey

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 320 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with aluminum foil and spray lightly with nonstick spray. Place honey and butter in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted. Place oats, nuts, and coconut in a large bowl. Stir together and then mix in the spices making sure everything is dusted lightly. When butter is melted, drizzle half of the mixture over the oats. Stir to combine well. Divide the mixture between the 2 cookie sheets and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and divide the remaining butter mixture between the two pans granola. Drizzle each and stir again. Return to oven and bake for another 10 minutes until toasted. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Eat it alone, serve with milk, or even over ice cream.

Store your granola in an airtight container at room temperature.

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family week. and no bake cookies.

This week was not only the hottest week we’ve had in a really long time, but it was also the week when my cousin Aaron married his wonderful fiance, Liz. It was a really excellent time for our family to get together and celebrate life. The picture to the left is of the guy cousins with our grandpa and the girl cousins with our grandma. See those two guys on the left that look exactly alike? Those are my ridiculous brothers. They aren’t twins, but they sure do look like it. I’m the one second from the right, just in case you haven’t figured out who I am yet. Don’t worry; there’s time for that.

My extended family is awesome. And they throw pretty sweet weddings. We had these chocolate chip M&M cookies that were amazing. I am determined to recreate them, so keep an eye out. Also these beef skewers marinated in something wonderful. I’ll work on those too. Good things happen when my family gets together.

We’re a food family. When we get together we eat. My grandma is the best baker I know. She makes homemade cinnamon bread and sweet rolls and so many other good things. During Christmas, you’ll find at least seven kinds of cookies in her kitchen (seven is a Biblical number, so it works out). Those will be featured here later. It’s way too hot to turn the oven on today (except that I did…to make scones…they didn’t quite turn out like I had hoped..gotta work on that..).

Here’s the thing about no bake cookies: there are so many recipes for them that it’s hard to figure out which ones are good. This one is awesome. It is ridiculously easy and so good. I will seriously eat dozens of these by myself. They aren’t quite what you expect from no bakes, but they are great for summer days when you don’t want to bake anything. It starts with butter, sugar, and milk. Three very great things that you usually can’t go wrong with. Just stick this in the microwave for a few minutes until everything is melted and mixed together. Then you just throw in the rest of the ingredients, mix everything up with a spatula, and then drop them onto wax paper.

It’s that simple. I promise you will adore these. The hardest part about making these is letting them cool. (sometimes I don’t even do that…real life) They have coconut in them, so be warned. But I have found that even people who don’t like coconut will eat these (my little brother for instance). Make these cookies, share them with your loved ones, and enjoy life. That’s what it’s for.

 

 

 

No Bake Cookies

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

3 cups quick oats

5 Tablespoons cocoa powder

1 cup coconut

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Spread out a sheet of wax paper on a table or counter top. In a large microwave safe bowl mix sugar, milk, and butter. Microwave for 2-3 minutes until the butter is melted and the sugar is mostly dissolved. Quickly mix in the oats, cocoa powder, coconut, and vanilla until everything is combined and thoroughly mixed. Drop onto the wax paper to cool. Serve at room temperature.

These cookies will last in an airtight container (or cookie jar) for 7-10 days. I recommend separating layers with wax paper so they don’t stick together.

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six layer bars

Summer is a time for fun. And for delicious things. One of those delicious things is toasted coconut. There is absolutely nothing wrong with toasted coconut. Combine toasted coconut with 2 different kinds of chocolate and you are golden. These are the days of deliciousness, my friends.

These bars are so good. They’re perfect for pool parties, get togethers, and even just sitting in the air conditioning. It’s been really warm the last few days, it’s just going to happen. There’s so much sweetness that 1 bar is plenty, but it’s that sweetness that will have you craving more. Don’t try and fight it. It’s inevitable.

This recipe starts with graham crackers and butter. You really can’t go wrong with these two things. I like to crush up graham crackers the old fashioned way: rolling pin and plastic bag. It’s a good way to let out some aggression and de-stress. I highly recommend it.

Toast up some shredded coconut in the oven and layer semisweet chocolate chips (or if you’re like me and forget that semi-sweet chocolate chips are the only kind you don’t have, chop up some bakers chocolate. it’s pretty much the same), white chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips. This is where it starts to look really delicious.

Can’t you just imagine how delicious this is going to be? Don’t worry it gets even better. And sweeter. I know! Just when you thought it couldn’t get more unhealthy. A whole can of sweetened condensed milk gets poured all over these. So rich.

Bake these and slice them. Okay. Now you’re done. I’m really sorry about these. They’re delicious and really unhealthy. My solution to this problem is to give them away. You make a lot of friends by giving them free food. Especially desserts. That way, you don’t have to eat them all. Always a bonus. Happy summer, everyone!

Six Layer Bars

adapted from browneyedbaker.com

makes 1 9×13 pan, about 12 bars depend on size

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

9 graham crackers crushed

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 cup butterscotch chips

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

Line a 9×13 pan with foil or parchment paper leaving edges to act as handles and liberally spray with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the coconut on a cookie sheet and bake until the edges turn golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Keep an eye on it though, coconut can burn really quickly. Melt the butter and combine it with the graham cracker crumbs. Mix the butter and crumbs until the butter is distributed through the crumbs. Press into the bottom of the pan. Layer in order: semisweet chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and coconut. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the entire pan. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack to room temperature. Once cool, remove the foil or parchment from the pan with the handles. Slice into bars.

These will last at room temperature, well wrapped for up to a week.

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