Learning to Bake…Easy Oatmeal Raisin Bars

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So after some thought (well actually not that much) I have decided we are going to start making our own granola bars, bread, and healthier snacks instead of buying the granola bars and bread from the store.

For those that don’t know me…I love to cook, infact not that I’m braging but I’m actually very good at it and it comes naturally to me. I love being able to throw in ingredients and not having to measure but just know the tastes and what will work and what won’t. Then there is baking…I am NOT a baker! I try and I try, but having to master and have perfectly measured ingredients is difficult for me to grasps. Then there is following a recipe! Oh my lord, am I horrible at this. You would think this is the easiest part…but not for me! Making sure you follow the recipe to perfection is SUPER important! Even if you put the correct ingredients at the wrong time the recipe calls for can make all the difference in the finished product.

This concept actually works quite typically with my life in general. I tend to be more on the impatient side sometimes too eager for the finished result and the thrill of not always having to follow the rules…or better yet making them up as I go. At Boggle (I tend to make up words, stick to my guns on them, and then 8/10 find they exist in the dictionary) My husband is not a fan of this tactic! So I can relate cooking and baking completely.

However, I have often thought of before we had technology and the freedom to just whip to the store to grab a loaf of bread, snack foods and baked treats how much easier and practical  it can be now a days. But at the same time you are paying a higher price for convienience which I completely understand. But determined to find ways to save money. I have decided (tempting rather) to take on these tasks at home. Going back to basics.

First Attempt will be Home Made Granola Bars! I normally by 2-3 boxes of different kinds and they go fast in my house. I also try to buy the organic or healthier types instead of the chocolate bar types (even though those are of course more of a favourite) but they can get pricey. Anywhere from $3-$5.00 a box with only 6 -8 bars in them.

I went to Superstore and bought mostly the no name brand or Presidents Choice Organics (half the time they are the same price!) I found this recipe online. The title was EASY OATMEAL RAISIN BARS. (I saw Easy in the title and it sold me!)
I already screwed up the topping directions but putting the amount called for of melted butter from the granola recipe in to the topping amount. So I will let you know how that goes. Instead of Raisins I used Craisins (1cup) and 1/2Cup of Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips as a substitute for an extra sweet, I also used whole-wheat all-purpose flour instead of white. Breaking the rules already I know, but they actually turned out great! The orange rime I was a little nervous about but we love it! I would say this is almost more of a loaf type  as it’s more fluffy with granola topping but it still is fantastic! A Winner!

Ingredients

      3/4 cup (180 mL) packed brown sugar
      2 eggs
      1-1/4 cups (310 mL)

milk

      1/4 cup (60 mL) melted

butter

      1 tsp (5 mL) grated orange rind
      2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla extract
      2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
      1-1/2 cups (375 mL) raisins
      1 cup (250 mL) quick-cooking rolled oats
      1 tbsp (15 mL) baking powder
      2 tsp (10 mL) cinnamon
      1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

Topping:
2/3 cup (160 mL) chopped walnuts
1/2 cup (125 mL) quick-cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup (125 mL) packed brown sugar
2 tbsp (30 mL) melted butter
1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Lightly grease or spray 13 x 9 inch (33 x 23 cm) metal baking pan.

Topping:
In small bowl, combine walnuts, rolled oats, brown sugar, melted butter and cinnamon until crumbly; set aside.

Bars:
In large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, eggs, milk, meltedbutter, orange rind and vanilla extract. Without stirring, add flour, raisins and oats. Sprinkle with baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir just until moistened.

Pour into prepared pan; smoothing top. Sprinkle with topping. Bake for 30 min or until tester comes out clean.

Let cool in pan. Cut into bars/squares

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