Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Challenge # 1 - Thoughts & Concerns

So my amazing sister-in-love challenged me to pick apart a recipe and come up with something new and improved. It's a pretty big challenge but I'm up for it. In fact, I haven't even showered yet for the day because I've been so involved with it......

Here's the recipe up for the Challenge "Chewy Granola Bars". The recipe is as follows:

4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 cups miniature chocolate chips

(1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13" pan.
(2) In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, flour, baking soda, vanilla, butter, honey and brown sugar.
(3) Stir in chocolate chips, etc.
(4) Lightly press mixture into pan. Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.
(5) Let cool for 10 minutes then cut bars. Cool completely before serving.

(1) Why are they using baking soda? Baking soda is an alkaline substance used in batters that have acidic ingredients such as buttermilk, molasses and sour cream. So I thought...is honey an acidic food or an alkaline food? So I did alittle Google search and what do you know.....it carries a negative renal acid load which makes it alkaline. Then what about the butter? Butter carries a very low, but positive renal acid load which makes it a bit acidic....but would that be enough to justify baking soda?
(2) Again on the baking soda.....it's a leavener that will cause baked goods to rise and have a light texture. If you want a chewy granola bar do you also want it to be light and airy?
(3) They mention rolled oats. What are they talking about here? Are we talking Quick cooking oats or Old Fashioned rolled oats? I do know that the thicker the oat, the more chewy texture it brings. So what's best? What about Steele Cut Oats?
(4) Then we have just a large mixing bowl where all the ingredients are just incorporated and pressed in a pan.....what if you were to put all those in a saucepan and heat until just a boil - like you're making a syrup? Syrup is sticky...wouldn't that help make it chewy too?

Just some thoughts....I'll keep thinking about it.....


  1. You. Are. Amazing. Seriously. I can't wait to try the new and improved recipe!!!

  2. Julie - I am wondering if the baking soda would possibly help with the tenderness of the oats, or even contribute to the flavor overall?? What causes butter to become rancid? Is it at all like the buttermilk chemically? And honey can crystalize rather than stay gooey, what contributes to this? :) or maybe it's what happens as the ingredients cool?
    I love your approach - seriously intrigued - keep us posted :)

  3. i am fascinated! bring on the challenge!