04 May Homemade Version of Starbucks Oat and Fruit Bars
I had hoped to post on Friday, but this is how my first attempt at the requested Starbucks Oat and Fruit Bars turned out.
They tasted great, but I had to eat them with a spoon. If Anja wanted granola, I could have just pointed you to this post. But she asked for a homemade version of her favourite Starbucks treat, and sticky granola just won’t do.
What went wrong? I didn’t have the right binding agent and was too lazy to make a trip to the health food shop for brown rice syrup as Cheryl suggested.
The first batch was made with 1/2 cup honey, 1/4 cup corn syrup and 1/4 cup brown sugar. I thought the corn syrup would help it set. It didn’t. The bars were toooooo sticky.
So, I popped the pan in the oven for 20 minutes. The bars weren’t nearly as sticky, but when I went to serve them? They shattered. They were tooooooo brittle.
By this time, I was out of pumpkin seeds and almonds, so a trip to the health food store was in order. Why not pick up a bottle of brown rice syrup while I was at it? Great idea. Really, Charmian, how do I come up with these things?
The results? These bars are juuuussstttt right. The brown rice syrup variation is on the left and the honey version is on the right.
Ah, organic brown rice syrup — the key ingredient. Thick like corn syrup, cloudy like creamed honey and not too sweet. The sugar glue I was looking for.
These pull apart just like the Starbucks bars do. But there is one big difference. My version is packed with nuts and dried fruit. The bars I got at our Starbucks were mainly oats and crisp cereal. I might have found three slivers of almonds and four pieces of dried fruit in the whole bar. But these puppies are bursting. See?
Okay, before you write me to say it’s not an exact replica, I admit I took liberties with the Starbucks original. Not only did I up the nut/seed/dried fruit to oatmeal ratio, I used puffed millet instead of Rice Krispies to reduce the amount of sugar. These aren’t exactly authentic, but I think they taste better.
Since I didn’t follow the Starbucks recipe, neither should you. As long as you keep the proportions approximately the same, you should be able to substitute any nut for the almonds and any dried fruit for the cranberries and apricots. Next time I’m adding flax in lieu of sunflower seeds. For a tropical twist I might use dried papaya and slip some toasted coconut chips into the mix. If I do, I’ll substitute coconut extract for half the vanilla. Oh, the possibilities are endless.
Before I get to the overdue recipe, what combinations would you like to try?
- 1/4 cup butter, melted *
- 3 cups large flake oats**
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- 1 cup puffed cereal (millet or rice)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup dried apricots
- 1 cup brown rice syrup
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt the butter and pour it over the oats. Toss to coat evenly.
- Spread the oats on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake for 7 minutes.
- Stir the oats and move them to one side of the pan. Spread the sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and slivered almond on the other half of the pan and bake 7 to 10 more minutes.
- Transfer the toasted ingredients to a large bowl. Add the cereal and dried fruit, tossing to distribute the ingredients well.
- While the toasted items are cooling, put the brown rice syrup, sugar, vanilla, salt and cinnamon in a small sauce pan over medium heat.
- Bring the brown rice syrup to a boil and cook until the mixture thickens (about 3 or 4 minutes).
- Immediately pour the syrup over the oat mixture, stirring to coat evenly.
- Press firmly into a 9 X 13 pan and allow to cool.
- Once cool, cut into bars and store in an airtight tin.
* Use butter substitute for a vegan or dairy-free alternative.** This recipe is gluten-free if you buy oats marked gluten-free. Many commercial oats contain gluten from cross-contamination during processing. Also, be sure the brown rice syrup you buy is gluten-free. Some are. Some aren’t.