It was a cold, rainy night in September when a tiny snack food, the first of its kind, came into the world with the kind of crunch and bang typically reserved for the offspring of more popular treats. The entire pantry community beheld the snack with great awe and confusion. It resembled granola but was far too soft for that distinction. Other notable qualities — its subtle sweetness and chewy center, for instance — were not unlike a cookie, but it’s form and texture didn’t quite fit the bill. What was it, they all wondered. The tiny snack made its way to the center of the cabinet, flexed its oaty abundance and uttered three short words to the pantry full of onlookers. “I am Granookie,” it said. And that was that.
OK, so maybe the granookie wasn’t born into such cinematic circumstances, but food with a story is so much more interesting, don’t you think? In reality, granookies really are a granola-cookie combo. They started out as a peanut butter granola bar recipe (another from Giada De Laurentiis) but were modified along the way (different amounts of some ingredients, a few changes and additions of others) to become the kinda-sweet, kinda-crunchy, kinda-awesome snack that they are today. We like to keep ours cold and happy in the refrigerator, just waiting for that 3 o’clock lull when your tummy’s a growling and your taste buds are pleading for sugar. Sometimes you’ve got to give the people what they want.
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis, Peanut Butter Granola Bars
• Vegetable or canola cooking spray
• 2 egg whites
• ½ cup creamy peanut butter
• 1/3 cup brown sugar
• ¼ cup honey
• 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
• 2 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
• 1/3 cup dried cranberries (raisins would be good, too)
• 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 7-by-11 baking pan with cooking spray. Place a 6-by-18 piece of parchment paper in the pan (allow extra paper to hang over the sides). Spray the parchment paper lightly with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, beat eggs whites until frothy. Stir in the peanut butter, brown sugar and honey. Add melted butter and oats, and stir to combine. Fold in the chocolate chips and dried cranberries.
Using a rubber spatula, spread mixture into the baking pan, and press down lightly to form an even layer. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until edges of mixture begins to brown. Allow granookies to cool on the counter for about 30 minutes, then place in refrigerator for another hour. Cut into 1 ½ inch squares, and serve.
Are you a granola fan? What’s your favorite afternoon treat? And what’s on the menu for this weekend? Happy Friday to all!