Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Homemade granola topped blueberry bars...

Yes... it is Tuesday again, which means another round of baking so Jeff can bring in goodies for Wednesday Treat Day at his office.

I went for a layered bar recipe this time and think I found one that could easily be changed around to use what you may already have on hand. On the bottom of these Blueberry Bonanza Bars is a thick and crisp crust laced with toasted almonds. To ensure the crust stays firm, it is pre-baked from a cold state just until the edges begin to turn golden. While you wait for this to cool, you begin working on an almond-coconut granola that will become the topping. Rolled oats, sliced almonds and coconut are tossed together with a warmed mixture of butter, honey and brown sugar. To assemble, a layer of chunky blueberry preserves is first spread over the cooled crust followed by a final layer of the homemade granola. The bars are then placed back in the oven to set the preserves and to turn the granola into a crunchy golden brown topping.
The richness of the nutty shortbread-like crust is cut from the dark sweet preserves with the faint coconut-scented granola adding a crunchy finish. These would be nice to play around with different flavor combinations - maybe apricot and walnuts or orange and pecans? If you found that you enjoyed the clumpy granola topping, you could make that just by itself - bake in a 325 degree oven until golden - about 25 minutes.

I got one of those "looks" when Jeff saw I pulled out an avocado that he didn't notice we bought this weekend to use in tonight's dinner of Cumin-Dusted Chicken Breasts with Guacamole Sauce. They happen to be one of those ingredients he is adamant he does not like, but I figured we would give it a go anyways and see what happens. I'm usually pretty good at weeding out things that he for sure would not like and I think he has gotten that hint by now. The sauce is a quick-to-make combination of chunky mashed avocado, sour cream, green onions, parsley, fresh lime juice and a few seasonings. The chicken portion of this dish is coated in a sweet and smoky mixture of brown sugar, cumin, salt and pepper. First seared in a hot skillet, the breasts then go for a trip into the oven to finish cooking. The seasonings on the glistening chicken make for a killer sweet caramelized coating that cuts through the heaviness the avocado brings to the sauce. Cool with a refreshing lime tang, the generous sauce bites back a bit with heat from a little addition of ground red pepper. Since the chicken and sauce are so well flavored, we served this over a mild mixture of brown and wild rice.


  1. Looks SO good! I'm going to have to try those blueberry bars. Yum! I don't like avacado on its own but in guacamole it's good!

  2. As always, Joe--great photos. I look to yours for inspiration for mine!

  3. That chicken looks so darn good. Again,another must make for me! Yay!

  4. Claire - We both thought the avocado was a nice touch!

    Michelle - Thanks!

    TMC - Let me know if you try it!