There has been a tragic shortage of sweet things around our house lately. I know, that's rather hard to believe, considering the intensity of my sweet tooth, but it's true. There are no cupcakes, cookies, pies, tarts, cakes, puddings, sweet rolls—nada. The disappointing chocolate chip cookies and last wedge of Mile High Chocolate Cake that are stashed in the freezer do not count. They will sit there for a respectful amount of time and then I will toss them to the chickens (who should then start to lay Cadbury eggs).
So yesterday afternoon, in an effort to remedy our grave situation, I mixed up another chocolate beet cake (which, by the way, I took one to Sunday’s potluck and it got rave reviews), but this time I baked it in mini-muffin tins as well as large muffin tins. The mini-muffins I cut in half and filled with leftover frosting so they kind of resemble whoopie pies. The large ones I left unadorned and just stuck in the freezer—I’ll ice them later, if I ice them at all.
I also mixed up a double batch of granola bars.
I made these specifically for Mr. Handsome because he has been floundering around the kitchen in the mornings, searching for food to pack in his lunches—now he just needs to go to the freezer in the mornings and grab a couple of the pre-wrapped bars and he’s all set to go. The rest of us will enjoy them as well. I take them along for the kids when we have to run errands, they make a good dessert, and they become a powerful breakfast when served alongside fruit smoothies.
I think this recipe came from a cookbook called Breads From The Old Mill, but since I don’t have that cookbook, just a card in my file box, I can’t be for certain.
1/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons hot water
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 ½ cups rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
½ cup chopped nuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 cup chocolate chips
½ cup dried fruit
½ cup coconut
Mix the first five ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Mix all the other ingredients together in a large bowl.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.
Grease a 9x13 glass pan and dump in the crumbly mixture. Using your hand, firmly press the mixture down hard. The more firmly it is pressed, the more solid and non-crumbly your final bar will be.
Bake the pan of granola bars at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Just the edges should be lightly browned, but nothing more. Over-baking causes the bars to be difficult to cut, dry, and crumbly—the goal here is for a chewy bar.
Cut the bars while they are still warm, but allow them to cool totally before removing from the pan and wrapping each bar individually in plastic wrap or little baggies.
Put the individually wrapped bars in a big bag and store them in the freezer.