After turning on the oven, it’s always nice to use it for several things. And so that’s just what I did today, for most of the day, actually. What a glorious week it will be with fresh loaves of bread, Parmesan cheese crackers, and the best granola bars I’ve ever made!
(I also made a vegetable dish in the oven, but that recipe will soon be disclosed in an upcoming e-book that I’m helping to write!)
The day began with preparations for bread, and is now ending with a wonderful aroma enveloping the house.
I can’t think of many things that are finer than fresh bread! And one loaf will go into the freezer for another day. Oh, yum.
In the meanwhile, as the bread did its various rising and falling, I tried making Parmesean cheese crackers from this recipe (I halved it to try it for the first time). What simple ingredients! Compare that to the ingredient list of your average store-bought cheese cracker!
And yes, they are quite delicious.
And then I moved on to granola bars. I’ve made some good granola bars before, but something about these ones really made my pleasure neurons light up, and they have a great consistency. The recipe was taken from the America’s Test Kitchen D.I.Y. Cookbook that I received from my brother and his fiance for my birthday (thanks!).
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon flake sea salt
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped fine
- 1/2 cup raw pepitas
- 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut ( I didn’t have this so I used chocolate chips instead!)
Heat oven to 300 degrees F and have the oven rack in the middle position. Rip off two long sheets of tinfoil and arrange them perpendicular to one another in a 13 x 9 baking pan, smoothing the foil flush to the pan. Grease with vegetable oil.
Whisk maple syrup, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk in oil.
Process 1/2 cup oats in food processor until finely ground (about 30-40 seconds). Add this to the bowl with the syrup mixture and add the remaining 1.5 cup oats, pecans, pepitas, sunflower seeds, and coconut (or chocolate chips), until all the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated.
Transfer oat mixture to the pan and spread into a thin layer using the back of a spatula. Make sure everything is firmly compressed.
Let granola cool on a wire rack in the pan for about 15 minutes and then cut, still in the pan, into 16 bars. Cool to room temperature for about 1 hour. Transfer to cutting board to re-cut the bars following the original cuts made. Bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
But really, even that’s ok, too! Just have to get into Zen-mind with it!