Sunday, March 05, 2006

Chewy Ginger & Spice Granola Bars - An Experiment

The marinara sauce is bubbling away on the stove as I type - smells wonderful. Competing with, and not exactly compatible with, the marinara is the smell of granola and ginger granola bars.

DH flew out of Detroit last week and made a stop at Trader Joe's in Ann Arbor. He picked up some Charles Shaw (or 2-Buck-Chuck as it's known) Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, along with a couple of odds and ends. One of those ends was a box of Trader Joe's Ginger, Almonds, and Cashews Granola. It was tasty, with little pieces of crystallized ginger in it. That got me thinking. I wanted to make granola bars and thought this might be a nice twist. I didn't want to use up the TJ's granola, so I thought I could take this granola recipe and turn it into a ginger granola bar. Then I started thinking about the Chewy Ginger Snaps and decided to try adding a bit of molasses and cloves to the mix. I also added some crystallized ginger and some currants that I had leftover from these cookies. I used this recipe as a base and even though I cut back the brown sugar, they still turned out a bit too sweet. I'd also love to find a way to make them less sticky, but that's probably just the nature of this kind of bar - kind of an exotic rice krispie treat. It was a good blend of spices and flavors, but the spices were a bit overwhelming - I would cut back on them just a tad next time. Still, not bad for a first try and definitely worth a bit more tweaking.

We'll be having our Penne with Vodka Sauce tonight, but you'll have to wait until tomorrow night to see the recipe in the roundup. We'll be serving it with a nice Chianti that has been waiting for me to open it since my birthday in July. I'm serving the pasta with a side of balsamic green beans.

It's now after dinner and I think that the vodka sauce was a success. It's very interesting to me how much the vodka, and especially the cream, change the flavor of the marinara. I really wish I had added some fresh basil, it really would have been a great addition to this dish.

Tune in tomorrow for the VRC: Italian Round up. I have about 8 entries so far and there's still time to get your entries to me. Also, stay tuned for an announcement on next week's VRC theme - we have another guest blogger!

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