Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Genmaicha Granola Bars

With perfect timing, in the midst of the vegetable love I mentioned, I got to read a review copy of Feast by Sarah Copeland. It’s a book devoted to fresh and fabulous vegetarian dishes with just a few, minor seafood appearances. And, the influences for these dishes come from around the world with tacos, tempura, gulyas, romesco, kimchi, curry, pizzas, crepes, and more. The book was mentioned back in April in Living magazine when the Barley Risotto with Radishes, Swiss Chard, and Preserved Lemon recipe was shown. I added that page to my to-try stack of recipes at the time. Then, when I recently saw the recipe in the book, I finally had to make it. The barley starches blend with the stock as it slowly cooks, and the radishes become tender and mild as they braise. Swiss chard and bright, citrusy sorrel add fresh flavors, and the preserved lemon adds a punch. It’s a clean-tasting dish that’s filling at the same time. Some other dishes I’d like to try include the Sweet Potato and Kale Tortilla Soup, Pea Guacamole and Seared Halloumi Soft Tacos, and the Indonesian Rice Bowl. I didn’t want to risk overdoing it with vegetable propaganda, so I’m showing a sweet recipe from the Breakfast and Brunch chapter. Granola bars are one of those things that always get my attention. I love making every version I ever see, but I was especially drawn to this one because of the genmaicha tea in the ingredient list. Copeland writes that the tea “adds depth, a malty richness, and a caffeine boost.” 

Interestingly, there’s no butter or oil in this recipe and no refined sugar either. Everything is bound together by a mix of pureed dates, maple syrup, and honey. I made one substitution because as I began measuring ingredients, I discovered I didn’t have millet although I was sure I did. I used amaranth instead. So, oats, amaranth, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and I used black sesame seeds, cinnamon, and salt were combined. Toasted pecans and almonds were coarsely chopped in the food processor and added to the oat mixture. Pitted dates were then pulsed to form a paste, and maple syrup, honey, and vanilla were added and pulsed. The date puree was added to the oats with genmaicha tea leaves, and the mixture was stirred until well-combined. The granola was baked until brown at the edges and then allowed to cool. I found it easier to cut bars after chilling the pan for a few hours. 

The bars had a great mix of crunchy seeds and nuts and chewiness from the date puree. The flavor from the tea was very subtle, but I liked having a little green tea caffeine in each bar. Now that I’m looking back at the breakfast chapter, I’m marking the pages for Avocado-Cheese Arepas and Mustard Greens, Cheddar, and Farm Egg Breakfast Pizza. I won’t be running out of great recipe ideas for vegetables any time soon. 

Genmaicha Granola Bars
Recipe reprinted with publisher's permission from Feast.

Many granola bars masquerade as health food when, in fact, dozens of them are anything but, laced with sugar and chocolate chips. The granola bar of your dreams, though, can be chock-full of fast energy and lasting nutrition like this one—loaded with nuts and seeds, like almonds and sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame seeds. Millet adds incredible crunch, and naturally sweet dates and maple syrup hold it all together. Genmaicha—green tea leaves with roasted brown rice—adds depth, a malty richness, and a caffeine boost. If you can’t find genmaicha or simply don’t do caffeine, skip it. These granola bars will win fans far and wide either way. 

Makes 8 TO 10 Bars 

2 cups/170 g old-fashioned rolled oats 
1/2 cup/60 g millet 
1/3 cup/30 g raw sunflower seeds 
2 tbsp raw unseasoned pumpkin seeds (pepitas) 
1 tbsp sesame seeds 
1 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/2 tsp fine sea salt 
1/3 cup/50 g toasted pecans 
1/3 cup/50 g toasted skin-on almonds 
 Packed 1 cup/170 g pitted Medjool dates 
1/3 cup/75 ml Grade B maple syrup, plus more as needed 
1/4 cup/60 ml honey or brown rice syrup 
1 tsp pure vanilla extract 
1 tbsp genmaicha tea leaves 

Preheat the oven to 325°F/165°C/gas 3. Line an 8-in/20-cm square baking pan with parchment paper so that there are overlapping flaps. 

Stir together the oats, millet, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. 

Pulse the pecans and almonds in a food processor until coarsely chopped (it’s okay if some nuts are coarsely ground and others a little powdery). Stir into the oat mixture. 

Pulse the dates in a food processor until a thick paste forms. Add the maple syrup, honey, and vanilla and pulse until a puree forms. Scrape out the puree with a rubber spatula and stir into the oat mixture. 

Add the genmaicha tea leaves and continue stirring (your clean hands work best) until the oats and nuts are sticky and coated with the puree. If the mixture doesn’t clump together easily, add up to 1 tbsp of maple syrup. 

Transfer the granola to the prepared baking pan and press into a smooth, even layer. Bake until just starting to brown around the edges, about 25 minutes. Transfer to the counter to cool slightly in the baking pan, about 15 minutes. Grab the flaps of parchment paper, lift out the whole batch, and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into eight to ten bars while still warm. Let them cool completely and serve at room temperature. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week. 

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21 comments:

  1. These look beautiful and they are cut SO cleanly! Love it!

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  2. What a delicious review, Lisa. I just love the way you pull a post together:)

    It seems I can never get enough granola recipes and this one seems like one not to by pass by any means. Just look at all that goodness. And a caffeine boost too:) Honey and Maple Syrup are always a sweet boost.

    Thank you so much for sharing, Lisa...Yours look amazing!!!

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  3. Lisa, thank you for this beautiful post! You've done my granola bars beautiful justice--I could almost grab them right off the screen! I'd love to try them with amaranth--I have a bag full in the pantry waiting for their debut. Great idea. Thank you again for the post and enthusiasm for Feast--utterly grateful and I'll be back to visit your fantastic site again soon!

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  4. Sounds like a great book. Definitely a great bar - these looks so wonderful. Thanks.

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  5. Onteresting bars! Very healthy and surely really delicious.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  6. I love the add of tea leaves in those granola bars!

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  7. I like the addition of the tea in these!

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  8. This recipe for granola bars has my complete attention. Adding tea sounds intriguing and genmaicha tea is a favorite of mine. I will be exploring Feast!

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  9. These are great looking bars and I love how you have cut them so neatly. What a great mix of ingredients and so good for you xx

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  10. Wow, these are amazing looking and healthylooking Granola bars.
    The addition of tea is a great idea!

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  11. those look sturdy and filling! i'm all about dates these days and would love to sink my teeth into one of these. :)

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  12. Seriously beautiful bars Lisa. They are so perfect :)

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  13. after making these bars...we might just finish off the whole batch in one go...these look so perfect and loved the seeds in them :-)

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  14. These granola bars just look wonderful! What great flavors!!!

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  15. I must be the last food blogger to make either granola or granola bars... but I haven't. These might change my mind. I love the selection of nuts and seeds in this recipe and there is oddly something very sexy about them. Beautiful!

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  16. Perfecto se ve muy saludable me gustar├Ča probar,abrazos.

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  17. Those bars sound healthy and look very delicious!I would love to make my own granola bars.

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  18. There's so much goodness in these! But what's nice is that they also sound delicious :D

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  19. These would be a great snack to make for the family. I have used date puree quite a bit in the past as a sweetener and it does have that extra property of binding everything together.

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