Many times, I think my friends are somewhat annoyed when I say, “You know, you can actually make that yourself?” Often, we need a reminder that almost everything we eat was at one point, made in a home kitchen! How about granola bars, chocolate syrup and spreadable butter??? My friends say, “Why would you want to ‘Do It Yourself’ for these products you can buy? Have you read the labels lately? Because, really, are you longing for some “delicious” invert Sugar, Corn Syrup Solids, Glycerin, Sorbitol, Calcium Carbonate, Soy Lecithin, and BHT? Or some “tasty” High Fructose Corn Syrup, Potassium Sorbate, Mono and Diglycerides, Xanthan Gum, Polysorbate 60, Vanillin and Artificial Flavor? Do I have your attention? Doesn’t that list creep you out?
Seriously, many DIY foods don’t require a huge investment of time or expensive ingredients. The home cook who originally made almost everything most likely had a limited pantry and budget. There is nothing but goodness in these DIY recipes and part of the goodness is saving yourself some money as well.
So, make your kitchen a DIY wonder — make it better, make it healthier, make it fresher — MAKE IT YOURSELF!
DIY Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Approximately 30 bars
Combine in a bowl:
4 cups old fashioned oats
¼ cup whole wheat flour
⅓ cup brown sugar
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ - ½ cup mini chocolate chips
¼ cup pepitas and/or ½ cup coconut
Whisk together in a 2 cup measure:
½ tsp salt
½ cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup honey
Preheat oven to 325º. Pour the wet ingredients over the oat mixture and stir to combine. Place mixture on a parchment lined 13” x 9” pan and press to 1” thick. Bake for 40 minutes. Wait to remove parchment until you have allowed the bars to cool for at least 20 minutes, then cut into 3 x 1 inch bars. Wrap individually in plastic wrap and they will keep up to a few weeks, if you can keep from eating them all right away!
DIY Homemade Chocolate Syrup
Makes 2 cups
1 ½ cups water
1 ½ cups white sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1 dash of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Optional: Dissolve 1 T. cornstarch in
2 T. water
Mix the water and sugar together over medium heat until the sugar completely dissolves. Add the cocoa powder and salt and simmer over medium heat until the mixture thickens, whisking constantly. Add the cornstarch mixture a teaspoon at a time, stirring until thickened to your
liking. Remove from heat and stir in the
vanilla extract, and cool.
DIY Spreadable Butter with Variations
2 sticks softened butter, salted or unsalted
½ cup neutral oil (canola, olive, or grape seed oil)
¼ cup cold heavy cream
½ tsp. kosher salt (optional)
Place butter in a mixer with wire whip. Whip on high for 2 minutes, pausing to scrape the sides of the bowl. After two minutes the butter will be a pale yellow. With the mixer running on low, slowly pour the oil down the side of the bowl. Mix until thoroughly combined, about one minute, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl. Repeat the same steps for adding the heavy cream. Mix in the sea salt (optional) at this point.
Whip on high for one minute to finish. The butter should now resemble thick pudding and will hold its shape. The butter will become firm (but still spreadable) after it chills for an hour or so. You can chill this plain or you can flavor some before you chill it.
1/2 cup of homemade
Add 1/2 tsp. minced garlic and 3/4 tsp. fresh or dried herbs, stir and chill.
Maple Cinnamon Butter:
1/2 cup of homemade
Add 1-2 tbsp. pure maple syrup and 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, stir and chill.