Hey blog readers! July seasonal potluck is winding down, and I’m excited to announce the August potluck ingredients! That’s right, I said ingredients, plural, as we are going to double up again for August. Next month we’ll be featuring peaches and corn! Its too hard in these summer months to pick just one seasonal ingredient, and since Kelley and I make the rules, we’re choosing two! I’m excited to see what recipes people concoct!
For my final installment of our July potluck, I present to you blueberry granola bars! I should call this post “adventures in dehydrating” because it was touch and go there for a while as to whether or not these were going to work out. As an artist, I am fully aware that sometimes the vision you have in your head doesn’t always translate through your medium. Still, it can be very disappointing when something you are excited about falls flat. I’m happy to say that these pulled through in the end, are very delicious, and I’m sure much healthier than any of the posing-as-healthy-but-really-full-of-sugar granola bar options you can get at the grocery store.
So here’s what happened. First I needed to dehydrate the blueberries. I have dehydrated food using the oven method before, but it took all day long, and I didn’t really want to waste the energy on that again. Plus, I had read that if you dehydrate blueberries in the oven, they lose all their flavor. We have a dehydrator, but I was under the impression it didn’t work. After speaking to The Hubs, he told me it did work, but just not for making beef jerky. I got it out and loaded it with blueberries. Now, every site I read said this should take 6-10 hours. After 24, they were still looking pretty plump. I determined that our dehydrator was a piece of crap. There is no temperature gauge on it, only on and off, so its hard to know exactly what you’re getting. I let it continue to run for another day, and after about 48 hours the blueberries were looking pretty good! Phew! One mistake I made was that I didn’t blanch the blueberries first to break their skins. A few of the ones in the dehydrator popped like balloons once I touched them, but most of them were ok. Anyway, it all worked out in the end. I probably didn’t save any energy by running the dehydrator for 48 hours straight instead of the oven for 12, but the recipe worked out! Anything in the name of art right?
Blueberry Granola Bars recipe from Alton Brown
- 8 ounces old-fashioned rolled oats, approximately 2 cups
- 1 1/2 ounces raw sunflower seeds, approximately 1/2 cup
- 3 ounces sliced almonds, approximately 1 cup
- 1 1/2 ounces wheat germ, approximately 1/2 cup
- 6 ounces honey, approximately 1/2 cup
- 1 3/4 ounces dark brown sugar, approximately 1/4 cup packed
- 1-ounce unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 1/2 ounces chopped dried fruit, any combination of apricots, cherries or blueberries
Butter a 9 by 9-inch glass baking dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, and wheat germ onto a half-sheet pan. Place in the oven and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In the meantime, combine the honey, brown sugar, butter, extract and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved.
Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees F. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine. Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish and place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.