Saturday, April 30, 2011

Banana Bread & Granola Bars

Dave's been so busy putting together final projects, preparing for finals, and stressing all night about the end of school that he hasn't exactly been an early riser lately. As a result, our morning conversations go something like this "You're going to be late; time to get up. What do you want me to pack you for breakfast? Granola bar, nutri-grain bar, yogurt, cereal, pop tart?" and lately the answer has been "Some of your home made granola bars" or "Banana bread". Not that that was an option but a guy can always hope!

But with next week being finals week, I decided to be the fabulous baking wife and make both. I convinced Dave to help me out (since he needed a late Thursday night sanity break), and we made the best banana bread AND two flavors of home made granola bars. My attitude with baking is to bake more than one thing at a time when the stove is on, so why not make all Dave's breakfast dreams come true?

The banana bread recipe is from my friend Cameron. He used to stop by the house with a loaf from time to time. I remember coming home and being told he'd dropped some off and it was gone before I got a slice. We just LOVED this bread and I asked for the recipe for about 4 years before he remembered to get it to me! The only thing I've changed is to substantially increase the cinnamon. Now I'll share it with you:

Sinful Banana Bread

1/2 c butter
1 c sugar
2 eggs
2 T cinnamon
1 t baking soda
2 c flour
4 ripe bananas

Cream butter and sugar. Mix in flour, baking soda and cinnamon. Add in eggs. Bake at 350 for 65 - 75 minutes.

I've been searching for a granola bar recipe for months. I've tried a few, tweaked a few, and finally came up with this one. I wanted something more healthy than the kind you get at the store, something packed full of oats and fruits and only with a little something to bind it all together. This fulfills just that, tastes great, and travels well. I switch it up a bit each time (sometimes adding only oats, sometimes adding unsweetened puffed wheat, different fruits or nuts, etc). It all depends on my mood on the day. 

Thursday we made all the bars with oats and sunflower seeds. half had cranberries, blueberries and cashews (Dave's choice), the other half had Cranberries and Apples (my choice). These are a little harder bars, but we like them that way. They're hearty and filling!

Granola Bars
4 c rolled oats
1 c raw sunflower seeds
3/4 c wheat flour
13/4 c honey
1/2 c brown sugar
3 T unsalted butter (plus extra for pan)
3 t vanilla
3/4 t salt
1/2 c dried blueberries
1 c dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter an 9x13 glass baking dish and set aside.  

Spread oats, nuts, and wheat flour onto a baking sheet and toast 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  While the oats and nuts are being toasted, combine the honey, sugar, butter, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan.  Cook on medium heat until sugar is dissolved.

When the oat mixture is done, remove and lower oven temperature to 300 degrees.  Immediately add oat mixture to liquid mixture and stir.  Add dried fruit and combine well.  Pour into buttered pan and press firmly on mixture making sure it is evenly distributed.  

Bake for 25 minutes.  Cool completely.  Cut into 16 bars. Individually wrap in saran wrap or tore in an airtight container.

We wrap each bar individually in saran wrap (since Dave's always needing these quick in the morning), but you could just throw them all in a ziplock bag. They won't stick together or anything. They also last a long time. I'm not sure how long, but at least a few weeks. This plus a yogurt is the perfect breakfast! These alone are the perfect size for a hike. When I get a little more time on my hands I'll figure out how to make a peanut butter version of these bad boys.


  1. The granola ingredients omit almonds and wheat germ, and the instructions don't mention wheat flour. Clarification?

  2. Sounds tasty! I've been looking forward to making some homemade treat this week. (Today I made rainbow cupcakes! Stinking cute!!!) I'll have to give them a whirl. Any chance we might see you during our visit? I'd love to see your baby bump!

  3. Sorry Cathie! I've changed this recipe so many times... my fault. We just did sunflower seeds in this batch, last time we did half almonds, half sunflower seeds (couldn't really taste the almonds, which is why I opted for just sunflower seeds this time). You can use whatever nuts you prefer (Dave loves to add cashews. I used wheat flour, not wheat germ (must have typed that wrong). Worst blogger ever! I've updated the text to be correct.

    Kathryn, we'd love to see you guys while you're out here dropping Emil M. off! When does he start (summer or fall)? If it's summer, we'd love to have you guys over for dinner or we could swing by Provo (or my parents if you're staying there). If it's fall... I'm due the 8th of August, so we'll have to play it more by ear. I'm planning to have the baby late, so you could end up visiting us in the hospital! But either way we'll figure something out. I'm so excited for Emil M!