Sunday, November 01, 2015

Homemade KIND bars - improving the process - Part II

I had a lot of fun developing my version of the KIND bar - those expensive but tasty nut/grain bars that are sold at most Starbucks. My initial recipe is here: Homemade KIND bars - my own recipe, far cheaper and healthier - Part I.

Since then, I've made lots of improvements. That's the pleasure of developing my own recipes, and keeping good notes - I get to continually tweak the recipe to make it easier and better. This recipe in particular needed lots of tweaking because of the inconvenience of dealing with a sugar syrup.

The main improvements are these:

  • I always use a wooden spoon to stir up the ingredients, and every time I stirred (you need to take it out from the microwave and stir every minute or so), I would spend a long time scraping the mixture off the wooden spoon with a knife. It took a long time. Now, I just LEAVE THE SPOON in the bowl while it heats up in the microwave! No scraping off required except at the very end, and lots of effort saved.
  • I'm making much larger batches now. I enjoy these, they keep forever in the freezer, so why not make more?
  • I halved the amount of raisins and/or cranberries I was putting in, and may skip them altogether. They seem to make the bars too sweet.
  • I added coconut. At my favorite grocery store (WINCO) they have unsweetened coconut flakes, which are a little difficult to find, so I stock up when I'm there. Coconut gives a really rich flavor to the bars.

So here's my updated recipe.

Syrup ingredients
½ cup sugar
¼ cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt

Nut/grain ingredients (mix and match whatever dry ingredients you like, as long as it totals 6 cups)
1 ½ cup parched wheat
1 ½ cup peanuts
½ cup cranberries
1 cup almonds
1 ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Spray non-stick spray on tin foil on cookie sheet, also spray the bottom of a drinking glass for pressing down the mixture
Nuke the sugar, corn syrup, and salt first for 30 seconds, to make it easy to stir
Leave wooden spoon in bowl - no scraping off!
Add the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
Microwave for a total of 3.5  minutes, stirring every minute or so
Empty the bowl onto the cookie sheet, spreading with the wooden spoon and pressing down with the drinking glass
Let cool 15 minutes, and then cut into bars. Don't leave it longer than 15 minutes, because it will harden too much, and crumble when you cut it.
Wrap the bars (I put them in snack size ziplock bags)


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