great British blog off

Great British Blog Off: Posh Granola Bars

It has been a week for me, between having to see a retina specialist (not a pleasant experience) and the resulting blood work (also not fun, but at least familiar at this point). Some busy weeks fly by and others drag, and this one was the latter.

Come Friday, I found myself wistfully flipping to this weekend bake just to remind myself of one firm plan on my control come the weekend.

This recipe has a particularly British title, since “posh” isn’t really a term we use here in the US. Nevertheless, I used to make granola bars all the time during college, so I was excited to take on the challenge of making a very different style.

The notes at the bottom suggest an option for more of a “chocolate kick” so you can only imagine which option I went for. Why ever have cherries in a granola bar when you could have cacao nibs, am I right?

The new chapter continues to keep me motivated and I felt good approaching this weekend knowing a bake was in my future. To the bake!

This Week’s Recipe: Posh Granola Bars (chocolate version)

The Prep

I don’t think I would have known where to look for the cacao nibs if I hadn’t accidentally chanced upon them the week before. There’s this little aisle with some “superfoods” and it houses things like açaí berry and cacao nibs, rather than these things being in their respective aisles by category.

The recipe called for crisped rice cereal, something I (wrongly) assumed you could get anywhere. Not the Fresh Market, apparently. Rather than go to another store, I decided to swap in organic corn flakes instead.

Other than that, a pretty straightforward use of the many nuts I’ve accumulated in weeks past and some standard “porridge oats” which some research suggest are just rolled oats.

Items acquired, I returned home ready to bake some bars!

The Bake

Back in college, I would often make large vats of granola bars to cover my weekly breakfasts. These were the sort you just sort of crammed into a baking pan and baked until they solidified, and were packed full of oats, nuts, honey, and trail mix.

True to their name, these granola bars are a bit fancier, requiring the oats and nuts to be toasted at various points before the final bake. This made the process interesting and slightly more labor intensive than my previous granola history.

What I enjoy about granola bars is that they’re fairly easy to customize, since tampering with ingredients is less likely to result in disaster as with cakes or other more finnicky bakes. This recipe reflects that, suggesting quantities of “mixed nuts” without specifying the kinds, and seeds as well.

For my version, I opted for pistachios and peanuts, since these are my favorite nutty flavors (yes, I know peanuts are legumes). I also tossed in a small smattering of pecans since we have far too many miscellaneous nuts in the pantry right now.

Seedwise, I opted for things we already had–sunflower seeds and pepitas.

Putting all the nuts on the cutting board and chopping them was oddly satisfying, I think because of the green hue the pistachios lent the mixture. I found myself chopping away for longer than was probably necessary simply because it felt so meditative and soothing.

Eventually, though, the nuts did have to join the oats for a little toast in the oven. Once they were lightly golden, the cacao nibs and cinnamon got sprinkled in.

One thing that has surprised me about the Great British Baking style is how often I am bringing various things to a boil before adding them in to a bake. In this case, the honey and butter combination that “glues” the ingredients together is boiled before being poured over the nut/seed/oat mixture.

This whole mess gets spooned out into a prepared pan and then baked to a golden brown with slightly darker edges.

I will fully admit that when I pulled it out and ran a knife along the edge to loosen it, I did not think my granola bars were intending to bar. They seemed crumbly like granola, and I feared another failed bake.

However, when mostly cooled and ready for me to cut them down to size, they had miraculously formed into something solid. Aside from one sad little bar, they came out solid and bar-like, albeit of vastly different shapes–I still haven’t mastered the symmetry portion of my bakes, I’m afraid.

Finally, a drizzle of chocolate over the whole affair, which was messy but fun. In all, I really enjoyed this bake and could see myself adding it in as a staple snack in the future. I would leave out the pecans, as they really aren’t my jam, and might want to try them with crisped rice next time as intended, but they’re definitely my kind of tasty treat.

It’s been a pleasure getting some chocolately goodness out of this chapter, though I’m afraid to say next week I’ll be squaring up with my old nemesis, lemons, once again.

I hope you’ve been enjoying my baking adventures! I certainly have been.

I wanted to take a quick moment to note that I’ve started a page on Buy Me A Coffee, where you can support this and my other creative projects, if you’re feeling generous.

Until next time, my friends!