Way back when I posted the pictures and recipes for granola bars from the Healthy Snacks eBook by Katie from Kitchen Stewardship, I didn't realize that I posted the wrong recipe--or at least not the one I made. My brother went to make them the other day and they were totally different!
Here's the soaked version that I make and love. You don't have to soak and dry the oats, you can just use regular rolled (old fashioned, not quick, if you please) oats, and if your walnuts are soaked like mine, that's great! I do the unbaked ending, and we LOVE these.
½ or ¾ c.butter
2/3 or 1 c. honey
2 tsp. vanilla
4 ½ c. soaked and dried oats
½ c. whole wheat flour
1 cup add-ins: mini chocolate chips, dried fruit, sunflower seeds, coconut, etc
In a small saucepan, melt butter, honey and vanilla over medium low heat. Once butter is melted and bubbly, cook and stir for 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. Mix the liquid with the oats. Incorporate add-ins at this point (mini-chocolate chips melt, so you may want to cool first).
Choose Your Own Ending
Unbaked (Use the 2/3 cup honey and ¾ cup butter) Line a container of any kind with waxed paper (I’ve used glass dishes and plastic storage containers.) Press into a pan with waxed paper. Allow to harden up (the refrigerator ensures this) and then cut into bars.
Baked (Use 1 cup honey and ½ c. butter, or use less honey but have more crumbly results. Add 1 tsp. baking soda and mix in thoroughly.) Press mixture hard into a greased pan; use wax paper on your fingers to apply pressure. Bake at 325 degrees F for 10 minutes. Allow to sit in pan until completely cool and then cut into bars.
Taste difference? Believe it or not, 10 minutes in the oven does something considerable. The baked bars have a mouthfeel related to a cookie (but not quite) and are less sweet. Unbaked bars are more like a sticky Quaker chewy granola bar, but with the 1 cup honey are much too sweet (and more expensive anyway). You could try half and half in 8x8” pans to see which you prefer!
Makes at least 20 bars, equivalent to about 3 boxes processed bars
Cost: $3.00, varies widely based on honey and butter prices
HOW TO: soak and dehydrate oats! (adapted from Katie at Kitchen Stewardship)
Start by soaking the oats overnight in water at the ratio of 3 cups oats to 1 cup water with one tbsp whey in the cup. Add 1/3 cup whole wheat flour (or spelt or buckwheat flour) in order to have some phytase available to break down the phytic acid. Without it, this process is worthless.
Drain any excess liquid off (if there is any, the oats aren't that moist).
Spread as thinly as possible on cookie sheets or a silicone baking mat.
Toast in a 250 degree oven for as long as it takes for them to completely dry out, usually about 2-4 hours. You want the oats to be very crunchy. You can accomplish this in a dehydrator at any temperature as well. Use parchment paper or teflon sheets to keep the oats from falling through the racks.
Allow to cool slightly, then break apart and whiz briefly in a food processor until the oats are in little chunks.
Store in a tightly closed container at room temperature, or if you have access to freezer space, cold storage isn't a bad idea.
Added bonus: If you want soaked oatmeal for the morning, you can cook these up as hot cereal just as if they were "quick oats!"