Tuesday, March 10, 2015

No Bake Coconut Almond Bars

I love it when I come up with a recipe and it's a hit. I'll be honest, it took two tries to get this one right, but I think I've got a winner. It started off as a copy cat Kind bar, but we decided they were too sweet and too nutty. They tasted like a candy bar. They're delicious don't get me wrong, but I wanted something a little different. I decided to add some oats in there, so it wasn't so nutty. Plus nuts get expensive. I don't want to make homemade granola bars that cost more than store-bought ones. I figured these cost about .45 cents each to make. Not cheap, but definitely cheaper than store bought. And way more tasty. They almost remind me of a coconut almond rice crispy treat.

I did a bit of research and discovered that brown rice syrup and honey was the way to go. I try to use natural ingredients. Or minimally processed stuff. I usually tend to go the maple syrup or honey route, but I thought I would try the brown rice syrup. I couldn't find it in my regular grocery store and even asked, so I had to go to a specialty store. Then, the other day I just happened to see it hiding in the gluten free section. What a strange place, but that's where it was. It runs about $7 at my local store. About the same price as honey around here.

There's not too much to making these, but you will need a candy thermometer, so I would suggest buying one. Don't borrow one. They aren't that expensive and since you're going to wind up making these all the time, I would just go ahead and buy one.

Have you every boiled sugar before? If not, the sugars go from just covering the bottom to practically overflowing. It doesn't seem to take long either.  Be careful when you boil the sugar, because if it touches your skin it sticks and you'll get a nasty burn. I always make sure my son isn't home or is glued to the tv when I'm making these. You really need to pay attention to boiling sugar. Don't walk away. This is why you need the candy thermometer. You need to get the sugar to firm ball stage. (No, this doesn't mean it's cold in the kitchen.) It's the gage on the candy thermometer. I don't like my granola bars too hard, so firm ball seems to be the best. If you like yours a little harder, go ahead and play hard ball, but I wouldn't go any higher than that. So many innuendos here. :)

These make 20 bars, which in my house maybe lasts about 4 days. Five if I hide one or two.

I've also got a spicy nutty bar coming soon. It's definitely an acquired taste, but I really like them. It incorporates sweet, salty, and spicy in one bite. I love it when that happens.

No Bake Coconut Almond Bars

Yield: 20 Bars
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

2 cups coconut
1 1/2 cups crisp brown rice
1 cup almonds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup honey
1/2 cup brown rice syrup 

In a large mixing bowl add dry ingredients and set aside. In a deep saucepan add honey and brown rice syrup. Cook on medium high until firm ball stage using a candy thermometer. Remove and add vanilla. Pour into dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Spread into a greased 9x13 inch glass pan. Oil the bottom of a drinking glass and press down firmly and evenly. Let cool for 20 - 30 minutes. Turn out onto cutting mat and cut into bars. Store in an airtight container for up to a week, if they last that long. 


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