Hello! Today we’re cooking up homemade granola bars!
You’ll find the recipe on page 25 of the PDF version of “Good and Cheap” (a free download at leannebrown.com) or on page 7 of the print version.
I’ve only made this recipe once so far, and it was an education in the world of oats. Not being much of an oat-eater, I had a vague notion that there was something called quick oats and I’d heard of the trendy steel-cut oats.
Here’s a primer, based on my very limited research:
- Rolled Oats – Basic oats which have not been altered to make them faster to cook (also the least expensive option)
- Quick Oats – As nearly as I can tell, these are rolled oats which have been chopped up a little to make them cook quickly
This recipe recommends rolled oats, and I agree. For the rest of the ingredients, I used Western Family peanut butter and raspberry jam (the house brand of Save-On Foods), because they were the least expensive option.
How Did it Taste?
The bars are very tasty but also quite crumbly. This was the first recipe that my housemates have really gotten into. We’ve had multiple morning coffee discussions about what we could do to make the bars hold together a little better. Here’s the shortlist:
- Honey: Might act like a glue, but is a little on the expensive side.
- Butter: A well-known binding agent and less expensive.
- Cookie Dough: If we took the basic cookie ingredients (butter, sugar and flour) and blended in about 3/4 of a cup of dough, it would give the oats something to hang onto. More expensive than butter alone but possibly less expensive than honey.
We rejected corn syrup because none of us use it, and buying a bottle for one recipe seemed like a waste. I’ll let you know what the results of our experiments yield.
In the meantime, I’ve been eating the bars for breakfast all this week, with an extra teaspoon of peanut butter spread on top. They make a nice, filling morning meal that’s ready in less than a minute.
Let’s Do the Math
This is a very quick recipe to make up — about 15 minutes to pull the ingredients together and then 25 minutes to bake. The total cost of ingredients came to $3.04, which is actually less than the $3.60 listed in “Good and Cheap”, and means that the bars were .25 each. (I credit this to a sale price on rolled oats in the Bulk section at Save-On Foods.) It also means that I feel like there’s a little bit of latitude to experiment with additions to the recipe.
Sometimes the bulk bins in grocery stores are a great place to save money. For example, I bought the rolled oats for this post at .30 per 100 grams, which was a 30% reduction over the least expensive bagged oats. Where bulk bins really shine, though, is giving you the ability to buy a small quantity of things like spices.
That’s all for today! Check back next Thursday, when we start the first in a whole series of breakfast oatmeal recipes.