Grown-up granola bars
It's time for granola bars to grow up.
In the 1960s they were well-meaning, with a texture painfully reminiscent of drywall. Over time they grew into an uneven genre of wrapped bars that contained rolled oats but not necessarily nuts or dried fruit.
In my continuing quest to redefine classic baked goods, I spent more than three years testing my way through dry, anemic specimens and moist, doughy bars; the latter style produced one of the worst attempts ever.
The result is a bar that is rugged, not boring and decidedly un-retro. The recipe represents lavish manipulation on my part: There is sweetness and moistness, with plenty of oats, fruit, coconut and nuts folded into a mantle of syrup with notes of caramel and vanilla.
Mine are not "lite" bars. But they are delicious, and light-years ahead of their predecessors.
-- Lisa Yockelson, author of "ChocolateChocolate" (Wiley, 2005) and of "Baking Style," a book on the art and craft of baking at home, to be published by Wiley next year.