And This Time, I Mean It

granola bars

With just a week left before my move, things have gotten rather frantic around here. I won’t bore you with stories about delays, budget overruns, a bruised eardrum from someone yelling in my ear when I’m standing just a foot away, and so on, but I can now say with confidence that I understand why there are so many pills in the medicine cabinets across France. Chez David has become a mini Vallé des poupées (Valley of the Dolls), with most of my efforts right now concentrating on trying to obtain a minimum of three hours of solid sleep per night. And, of course, making sure blog posts don’t have a single typo in them.

Needless to say, visitors can forget my requests for bringing over corn tortillas or dried cranberries – I need a reload on ExcedrinPM. What I thought would be a relatively straightforward project has become a lesson in how much patience and good humor are left in me. I made the grave error of stepping in freshly poured cement, which has occurred only once during my 53 years on this earth, but someone on the job has not let me forget it and has mentioned it at least seven times since I did it. And it was only yesterday.

craisinsrolled grains
granola barsprune kernel oil

However they’ve finally cleared away a lot of the debris and I could get a clean look at the space to lay out the plan for the kitchen. Designing a kitchen is like a puzzle and since it’s where I work, I need it to be, well..workable – and to get it right since there’s no going back. So it’s hard when someone barks at me to make a decision in four seconds that I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life while I’m surrounded by a mess of construction and noise. But the good news is that I have two eardrums, and the other one still has a bit of life it in.

Speaking of clearing debris, I’m still working on cleaning out cabinets and the refrigerator. And speaking of debris, I’m still working on trying to figure out how to preserve the fresh-frozen cranberries in my freezer during the move, when I likely won’t have a refrigerator for a couple of weeks. I’ve also been eying a stray bottle of plum kernel oil, a half-jug of maple syrup in my refrigerator, odds and ends of miscellaneous dried fruit in wadded up bags held together with elastic bands, and a canister of rolled oats, so I decided to give granola bars one last go with a recipe that was in one of my many (many) folders of paperwork. (In that respect, I’ve become very French.)

granola bars

I’ve had my issues with granola bar failures in the past, and swore off trying them ever again, but I had clipped a promising recipe for my nemeses – and what was left of my American optimism hadn’t (yet) been quashed. The recipe was from a chef who I have a lot of respect for, so I was certain it would be sure-fire success.

But reading through the recipe just as I was measuring out the ingredients, my first concern was that there was over one part sweetener for two parts of oats. The whole mixture seemed suspiciously soupy as I mixed everything together. But I persevered and right near the end of the cooking time, when I took a peek insides the oven, the seeds, oats, and dried fruit in the pan were bobbing up and down in a slick pool of sugary syrup, which was bubbling furiously at the edges.

Being an optimist (another American quality that I’m trying desperately to preserve) I let the bars cool, as directed, then peeled off the foil, which was rather difficult because the bars had become welded to the pan. And when I snipped off a taste of the edges, aka the cook’s bonus, my teeth recoiled from the overwhelmingly sweet goo. And this comes from someone who eats sugar for a living.

granola bars granola bars

When I mess something up, I usually keep it around for a few days, picking at it from time to time before tossing it. Being frugal and not likely to toss things away, I almost broke a spatula as I scraped the mixture that had fused to the cutting board, into a bowl and kept it around a while – occasionally pulling out a glazed cranberry or a prying off a few of the sunflower seeds sealed onto the surface. Then, when I realized that the whole thing was a loss, I tossed it.

granola bars

So this time I am moving on from a few things. For one, granola bars, once and for all. And this time I mean it. So now it’s back to the boxes, and burrows of my cabinets. I’ve found a few long-lost oddities that I was considering fooling around with in my nearly empty kitchen, but perhaps I will wait until after the move to give them a go. Although when that date is, I’m not quite sure. In the meantime I’m keeping an ear to the ground for when that will be. The good ear, that is.


134 comments

  • I understand why you’re giving up on granola bars. anyway, even if these are not perfect for you, they look good!

  • Too sweet is always a good reason to throw something out, I feel, given that it’s not like I ‘need’ to eat more sugar. I have to confess, after spending two years in the UK, I have never made granola bars, because I consider British flapjacks to be a more ‘highly evolved’ incarnation of oat bars–fortunately, it’s pretty easy to get golden syrup where I love.

    Even your photos of your failures look beautiful, though–it LOOKS like the broken bars would have tasted good on some yogurt, even if the wouldn’t have in reality!

  • Let it go. If you really loved granola bars you would have come up with the perfect recipe long ago.

  • I couldn’t even try to make those but my partner has been pretty successful with making ‘flap jacks’ which, to me, is the British version of a granola bar. He has made me some with loads of honey and dried cranberries, which we can get here because we have Costco! Perhaps you should try a different recipe? I agree with Kim, the ones you made looked very tasty!

  • Kind of makes me feel a little ‘better’ knowing even a pro like you has misteps cooking sometimes. Because I have tried granola bars many a times and they always turn out crappy. And here I always thought it was just me struggling for a good bar recipe…..

  • David forgive me but now I’m confused. You’re moving into the apartment you are currently renovating filled with contractors….NEXT week? Honey forget the Excedrin P.M. somebody needs to set you up a drip of the strong stuff.

  • Will this apartment be occupied by two people, or still be your own “mad scientist’s” lab? Double occupation brings its own set of anxiety and chaos, moving in and adjusting. Heavy Duty sedation might be a better idea than granola grief.

  • I hesitate to even suggest it, since it sounds like you’re over granola bars. But have you ever tried Kim Boyce’s recipe? I’ve made jacked-up granola bars more times than I can count, but her recipe from Good to the Grain is – to date – the only success I’ve ever had with them. If you ever feel like giving it one more try, hers wouldn’t be the worst place to start. That said, it sounds like you have a few other things on your plate right now. Good luck with the move!

  • Now those granola bars look perfect, nice golden and rich,.. mhm..

  • Don’t give up just yet! There’s a recipe that I’ve tried several times by Dean Brettschneider. It is in his cookbook – “New World Baking – my time in Shanghai.” It has a recipe of a Fruit & Nut Energy Bars that works. It has oats, nuts, seeds and fruits and not too sweet. And it doesn’t fall apart when cut into bars.

  • I love that you have a category for whining. Most of us aren’t brave enough to have such things.

  • Hang in there, David. Just one week to go. Once you are in and settled (and the cement has worn off your shoes) it will all be worth it!
    Trust someone who has been there, done that.

  • How many bags of cranberries are we talking about? I’m in the 17th and can spare some freezer space here if you need it. That’s a serious offer.

  • Your recent experiences of getting your place set up remind me a lot of what happened in the book “A year in Provence” – have you read it? When I read the book, I wasn’t sure if that was an accurate description of how things work in France (never been to Europe), but now that I have read your posts, I think they were spot on!

    Don’t throw those bars away! They look so good!

  • David – I can see where granola recipes can be frustrating. It gets worse when you are trying to make bars out of them, because you need something to hold everything together.
    I have an absolutely wonderful recipe for Meusli that could be made into a granola bar recipe. If you are interested, let me tinker a bit, and I can get back to you!

  • David, this is not a pitch for my site :) just trying to help. If you try the almond butter, brown rice syrup and maple syrup combo I use for bars you might be pleasantly surprised: http://www.fishtailsandpearls.com/2012/02/chewy-puffed-rice-bars.html It’s delicious.

  • Just forget the granola bars and soon you will forget the person who (almost) destroyed your eardrum. My construction project took twice as long as it was supposed to and the contractor was like a big bear who yelled at me too many times. Trying to keep things calm I never yelled back until the very end — really felt good too. Now I’ve (almost) forgotten him and the whole experience because the space is so wonderful to be in. Hang in there– you will be happy again soon!

  • I second the vote for Kim Boyce’s granola bars, though I recommend dialing down the sugar considerably.

  • Well, that’s too bad. If you should change your mind down the road, Ina Garten has a fantastic granola bar recipe, that I make all the time. Maybe the timing wasn’t the best either. Stay strong. You will survive this move and the construction of your kitchen.

  • Those look like Florentines, can’t you just pretend that’s what they are? Pictures are gorgeous as always! Good luck with the move – can’t wait to see and hear all about it. :)

  • I think it would be nice to leave a footprint in the concrete of your new home. That way, 50 years from now when someone else is remodeling it, they’ll find a little bit of its former owner. (As opposed to a defunct toilette turque, say…) Good luck – it’ll all be over soon!

  • Thank you for posting about a cooking failure. We all have these at home, but its nice to see the experts also have troubles in the kitchen. This post gets me wanting to experiment more in the kitchen and not worry so much if it turns out in the end.

  • granola & fruit has nothing on chocolate & ice cream :)

  • You’re moving in a week? Ooooh can’t wait to see the finished product! I agree with Hillary about your footprint, your very own walk of fame. Bonne chance.

  • Uh, the contractor should have put up a barrier or sign around the concrete if he didn’t want anyone to step on it. Floors are after all made for walking :)

  • Giving up is a perfectly acceptable position, however if you should ever decide that you must try to make granola bars again, Alton Brown has a recipe (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/granola-bars-recipe2/index.html) that I’ve made several times over the years and never had any issues with. It’s more soft and slightly chewy than hard and crunchy but it holds its shape when cut into squares and very adaptable to whatever you have on-hand. Best of luck with the move!

  • Just make sure that Excedrin PM isn’t from the US, so you may get more than you bargained for. Like percoset, it’s been recalled here: http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/news/20120109/bufferin-excedrin-nodoz-gasx-recall

    Do you happen to know if your favorite Sunday market at the Bastille will be running on Easter Sunday? We’re making our first visit to Paris and we’d love to visit your market and visit your chicken lady.

  • Wish I’d had something even remotely like your sense of humor during my kitchen remodel of 2005. In solidarity, I offer a granola bar recipe I’ve made with great success. I’ve added other fruits — apple, apricot — to the fig mix to use up remainders, and it still comes out great. I’ve cut the brown sugar by half and still like the results. Very time consuming to chop the dried fruits, but otherwise easy. Save for much (much) later when the kitchen’s been around a while…

    http://www.meccagold.com/recipe2.htm

  • Is it wrong to say I’m reassured you have baking failures too? :)

  • HOW do you have time to cook anything at all a week before you move? You must be the most organized person in the world. I wouldn’t begin to be ready to move in a week, especially to a new house that’s just being remodeled. You were my food hero before but now I stand in awe.

    I love that you’re human in the kitchen. I don’t feel so bad that my idea of stuffing lemon curd in a blueberry muffin made them look like small volcanoes after the eruption. :) definite fail.

    Seriously, good luck with the move.

  • rest well david.. truly it will all be over soon… i will send you granola bars and anything else you may need. just ask anytime.. xx pam

  • Having just moved out of my house in Provence I know just how you feel (having finished doing the work on it, now renters can come in and enjoy the finished house!).
    On the last day before driving off with my very noisy cat, I decided I needed to use up the chicken stock I’d made, the vegetables I’d bought in the market and the end of a box of lentils…….anyway, I was quite grateful later in the night when I sat in my Etap motel, eating lentil soup (oh and then the cat peed on my pillow during the night…..but thats another story)

  • Regardless of your success with the granola bars, I give you a lot of credit for even baking when you must be in the middle of packing stuff up. To hell with granola bars!

  • Oh, David, I feel your pain. Over Christmas, I made honey cardamom caramel that never set up enough to wrap as candies and was too stiff for sauce. I kept it around for awhile, spread out on parchment, then rolled up and refrigerated, like some kind of fruit leather. It tasted good, but so messy to eat. I finally made turtles, using pecans to hold the caramel in place just long enough to pour chocolate over the whole mess. Step away and it would smoosh into ever expanding puddles. Frugality can lead to some crazy long hours in the kitchen trying to salvage expensive ingredients, but occasionally makes for brilliance. Those turtles were the favorite sweet in the Christmas box. Go figure.
    Making a list, checking it twice:
    Excedrin PM, Craisins, Oats and Maple Syrup?
    I’ll be there in two weeks. Hope to see you at the Charcutepalooza party!

  • At least they looked like a success.

  • Hey! You’re not in the slammer for murder or a padded cell…way ahead of the game. Can’t imagine anybody (i.e. an American) doing that extreme a makeover in Paris. Kudos & Admiration!

  • I feel guilty for laughing, but oh gosh! If it helps, I can relate…except for the stepping in fresh concrete part. Though I have done equally embarrassing things.

  • Life is a mystery. Be it granola bars or kitchens. You just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. If it makes you feel better, I have been making pastry cream for 40 years..easy-peasy. However, I cannot figure out why mine, all of a sudden, sets up and then 2 hours later is runny. So you see, have heart,my friend….life is a challenge. Your new home will be a dream! Bon Chance!

  • Well it looked good…

  • I feel your pain…and I love granola and granola bars ( that are scrumptious that is)

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

  • Wow! Don’t know how you do it all! I won’t complain now, for at least a day, about all the stuff on my to do list….And by the way, your posts are so amazing, delicious, funny and entertaining, we really don’t care about the typos, even if there is more than one ;) There you go, one less thing to worry about! Bon courage, David!

  • Your plight has rescued my sense of failure. I made some wildly heralded brownies last week that ended up in the trash. I love brownies with the most minimal amount of flour possible but even I was surprised at how little that recipe called for and once done it was simply a caramelized piece of goo. Yes, chocolate goo so I did pick on them a bit but eventually they met the same demise as your granola bars.I could blame the altitude in Denver but won’t…those pups needed the flour I thought they did!

    I hope you aren’t being too optimistic but even more I hope the move goes well and next we here you are firmly ensconced in your new kitchen.

  • Thank you for writing and describing in detail a cooking failure. Exposing your
    cooking vulnerability is something that most people can identify with. Being a
    real person makes life less stressful.

  • Move on from granola bars and substitute british flapjacks into your life. Very easy, satisfying (caramelized from the golden syrup) and you can add in fruits and nuts as you please. The Lyle’s Golden Syrup website has a good base formula.

    My personal hobby horse is the genoise. Everyone pastry person has something.

  • Your experience reminded me of something said in pastry school:.” We’re not surgeons dammit. It’s dead. Throw it out!” instead of trying to constantly resuscitate a bad outcome. I feel for you with the kitchen having remodeled mine due to a neglected pot of bones in a pressure cooker creating a grease fire of epic proportions. Just know this too shall pass.

  • Serious need for Excedrin PM ?….I’m flying to Paris tomorrow and could tuck some in my suitcase for you! Just let me know and “Bon Courage” for the kitchen. Can’t wait to see your photos.

  • Granola Bars? A week before you move? Honey, you need wine..and lots of it. Spfft..granola bars. .

  • I don’t know the protocol in France regarding buying headache pills; here in England only two packets per person per purchase. Since we are business people with a VAT number I can buy bulk. Scream if you ever need a care package! I also have “my little man” in the Chemist that trusts me and I have wonderful little pills that help blot out the noise, calm the mind and allow sleep to occur. We had our kitchen gutted five years ago to have a bespoke kitchen installed. I did a lot of pointing out various faux pas along the way, which did little for the relationship. However, when one pays the asking price it must be delivered to what the customer was promised despite the dizzy rubianon cook rubia that kept adding her two pence worth. Agree with Steph SF, English flapjacks are easy to make from scratch and no, they are not pancakes with a countrified name!

  • David!
    Last week I followed the latest Cooks Illustrated’s recipe for granola. Five cups of oats, syrup, etc etc later, I was left with overly-sweet-dry-as-dust goat feed. I rarely toss anything and so held onto the mess the requisite 24 hours. Perhaps it would right itself magically overnight? Mais non. Out it went. (Actually, I never eat granola, but I had a huge canister of rolled oats . . .)
    Your renovations nightmare sounds like mine. At least your workers didn’t take a month off during deer season . . .

  • Granola can be good: granola bars are never good.

  • What is the purpose of granola bars? What’s wrong with putting extra stuff in a good oatmeal cookie?

  • David, Please don’t give up until you’ve tried to make a Larabar. They are superbe!

  • Did I miss the recipe for the granola bars?

  • good ingredients for cookies…:o(

  • Being able to make granola bars is over-rated. Now a perfect scoop! There’s bragging rights.

  • I know I’ll never dare to make granola bars but your optimism is infectious.
    I just spent 30 minutes reserching Kim Boyce and granola…
    This always happens when I visit

  • Yup, I can commiserate. David. A non-crumbling granola bar is my biggest bete noire. I remain optimistic, however.
    I am enjoying your reno- I have a similar project in my future and the kitchen will be the biggest challenge for me. I am collecting appliances in hopes that I will actually have room for them all…again, I remain optimistic!
    Thanks for sharing your triumphs as well as your failures.

    June

  • I’m pretty sure homemade granola bars are impossible. The have to be. Because mine are either hard as a rock or way too sweet. Regular granola however is very doable.

  • They looked very good and I also have the American quality so I will now tackle your recipes in Ripe for Dessert..Wish me luck as I am also frugal and do not like to throw out food..any food.

  • I so appreciate your sense of humor. Thanks for keeping it alive even under construction and granola duress.

  • Oh David, I hope you yelled back in English. Maybe that no longer works :-). Im SURE that that concrete misstep did not benefit your shoes.

  • Leaving your footprint in wet cement is an American tradition! I will be in Paris April 1-4, please let me know if there is anything I may bring that will thrill and delight.

  • Carol L: Yes, stronger would be better. But I can’t be too out of it, ya know..

    Ken: Since they were awful and I ended up tossing the whole batch away, I don’t quite think anyone else would want the recipe.

    Cathy: ExcedrinPM would be nice, although I actually buy TargetPM when I can ; )

    Sissy: Well they did say to look out for it, but the place is still such an obstacle course, it’s hard to remember where to step, and where not to. It was just something that was easily re-leveled, but one ‘particular person’ on the crew thrives on yelling at people. Fortunately someone flipped out on him, big time, and although I wasn’t there, I heard it was amazing to watch.

  • :( Sounds like you need to listen to Three Little Birds :) Hope you’re able to recover your hearing and your optimism. Good luck!

  • I’ve enjoyed reading about the renovation and cleaning out the cabinets. as an FYI…you will be cleaning construction ‘dust’ for at least 6 months. A contractors definition of clean is very different from our standards. I work as an architect so I am familar with their level of clean.

  • This move will provide a great opportunity to rid yourself of lots of unnecessary “stuff.” It will also make unpacking in your new maison easier and quicker. Think of it as a learning experience. When all is said and done, you will smile. Oh, and strong drugs are a valid suggestion. Bonne chance!

  • Bake flapjacks! Use a recipe that includes brown sugar as well as honey and light corn syrup and they will be both crunchy and slightly moist. I have been addicted to them since 1977 as they are always my go-to sugar high. It’s best to bake a double batch since they will be inhaled.

  • You should have listened to your gut, no matter how good the recipe is from whatever well-known chef. Everyone has their bad days or recipe typos.

    You could have pureed the failed bars, added several cups more toasted oats, thrown it all together and placed it in the fridge to re-harden. Granola bar failure solved! Guess it’s too late ;)

  • Granola bars are over-rated anyway. They look healthy, but in fact they are just as high in fat and sugar as many desserts. May as well eat chocolate cake instead – it’s probably no worse for you.

  • I must say your first picture of the post made it look extremely delicious and I was hoping there would be an awesome recipe at the end of this post when I saw it :P

  • I love this post. Why? Because you are a gifted and experienced chef yet you still have disasters! I am sorry about the granola bars. I hate wasting food too, especially since your initial goal was to put the left overs to good use. I hope it helps to know this post has lifted my spirit. Next disaster I have in the kitchen, I will know that it happens to the best chefs too!

  • oh! i think i recognize this recipe. i had such high hopes for it, too, but it produced granola bars that were didn’t travel. . . and and what’s the point in granola bars if you can’t take them anywhere?

    i was so excited when i saw the picture on this post. i don’t think i’m quite ready to give up the granola bar fight.

  • When things are going awry, and stepping in concrete definitely falls into this category, it makes sense to bake comfort food from back in the day, but there’s no point losing your fillings in the process. And comfort is rarely found in sugar masquerading as health food. Here in Australia we call them “muesli bars”, and they’re one of the few processed pre-packaged foods I always keep in the pantry – excellent for trains, planes and automobile journeys ! I agree your subscriber “Dee”, choc-cranberry granola bars, anyone ? Why don’t you get rid of absolutely everything from your fridge and start over brand new when you move. Cathartic !

  • Ok, i’m just gonna say it: WTF? you’re 53? No. Way.

    Next: I’m soooooooo happy, no elated, to read about one of your failures. i’m such a horrible baker.I seriously only have ONE thing I can bake, Easy Fudge with a raw egg….and it’s not even officially “baked” because you don’t use an oven. you just melt the chocolate and mix it with the sugar and egg and toss it in the fridge. I tried a “flourless” chocolate cake this holiday. Failed. Big fat F. thank god I can cook. but bake?

    so when i read one of my favorite chefs have a failure in baking, it just gives me hope. thank you! :)

    btw: who eats granola bars when you have like a billion creme or chocolate recipes that are to die for?

  • NEVER trust a worker who speaks the word “normalement”, as in “ce sera fini mardi… normalement”. Whatever he says from that moment on is a lie.

  • David, stick to chocolate cake instead, less likely to cause expensive dental work to be done….
    Hubby cracked a tooth on supermarket popcorn, ended up costing €250, while I ate some high fibre cereal and did the same thing. See, these healthy things are no good for you!

  • Re: “Decisions you’ll have to live with the rest of your life.”

    Potential angst-reduction: The NYTimes , June 15, 2006, has an article in Home and Gardens that will assist. My re-hab is in Mexico resulted in an affordable, efficient, well designed cocina. The “hot, cold, wet, dry” stations are your focus. The “Comment Policy” doesn’t allow me to forward the article, entitled ‘….Designer brings His Ideas Home’.

    Take a deep breath…and, Thank you for this delightful blog!

  • My French over the counter pharmacy answer to ExcedrinPM… Donormyl. About two euros, comes in a tiny box of ten, you want it in the pill form, not liquid. Sounds like you could use it.

  • David, I feel the same way about scones!

  • I am volunteering to check for typos in your blogs. Aside from culinaria, it’s what I do for a living. Caught one end of paragraph 3…word reversal. So unimportant to us who love your work though. But you want all to be as good as it can be and I understand. Just beware Excedrin and its ilk Got me one huge ulcer. Consider Tylenol. I hope you adore your kitchen.

  • I know you granola bar pain! They are the toughest things to make. We made a batch a week or two ago, and they turned out a horrid, crumbled mess. They tasted good, but what’s the point in a granola bar if you can’t hold it in your hand and snack on it? Maybe someday someone out there in the world will manage to get it right! :)

  • Those kind of look like granola sticky buns. Ha. Is that an oxymoron? I’m happy that you’re keeping your sense of humor through the whole renovation process David. Patience Grasshopper, you’ve still got a long way to go.

  • David – just wanted to say – love your blog and love, love all the great stuff you post on your FB page. I just found your site a couple of months ago – not sure what took me so long! Also – I have never seen that oil from LeBlanc – sounds amazing – I love their stuff and always bring a stash back to Canada…especially their whole walnuts and the roasted hazelnut oil – along with other treats!
    Keep posting!

  • David, don’t fret over typo’s, us humans, don’t. Besides, you know that the well-meaning reader will gladly ‘correct’ them (and point them out to the rest of us) in hopes that your being publicly chastised will eliminate any such errors in the future.
    And we all know how we all feel about THOSE people… ;)

    Seriously, about that granola. Maybe you are trying too hard.?. It’s understandable, stress has a way of holding us hostage. Go back to the fridge contents. Write about the expiration dates on the condiments. Discuss the dust bunnies. Talk about the clearing out and organizing of those items you can’t recall accumulating. Give us the personal history of the individual that bruised the ear drum, even if you have to write fiction.

    We aim to be entertained, but not at the expense of your sanity. Give yourself a break. We love you. Ain’t no typo or grammar faux pas that can change that.
    :)

  • You’re hilarious.

  • granola bars? really? yer brain may, just may, be overtaxed. some shoulder angel must’ve whispered in your bad ear Granitas, Granitas and you thought she was saying granola granola.

  • A faux pas into fresh cement is bad enough, but for someone to remind you of it *AT LEAST 7 TIMES* falls to an abysmal level of poor taste far below that of the tossed granola bars.

  • Elspeth: I love that plum kernel oil which I use in granola, as well. However it’s one of those things that’s nearly impossible to find outside of France, so I don’t call for it in recipes. Leblanc makes excellent oils of various kinds, and another company had started up just marketing plum (or prune, in French) kernel oil – although am not sure if they are still producing it, or what the availability is.

    (It appears to me that Perles de Gascogne is a company that is still making it, although I don’t know about availability.)

    Margie: I gave up on being persnickety about typos and goofs on the site a while back. (With books, we have copy editors and folks at the publishing house to go over those things.) But I decided it’s better for the blog to be more fun and casual – and I could write and post less, and send everything to a proofreader before publishing, or just write. Blogging – at least to me – works better when things are unscripted, and more casual and off-the-cuff.

    Denise: Thanks for the tip. The pharmacies in France are so overwhelming…so much great stuff… so will check it out. Although am thinking in a few weeks, things will be in better shape. (Although, once again, that may be my American optimism…)

  • I’ve given up on granola bars as well. Too dry, too sticky, too crumbly, too goopy… I’ve never been able to strike the right balance. The funny thing is, I don’t even LIKE granola bars all that much – every time I’ve attempted them is just to try to prove to myself that I can do it. Well, we all have our shortcomings, and I suppose you and I just didn’t get the granola bar gene. On another (happier) note, I made your Whole Lemon Bars the other day using Meyers and they were a huge, huge hit. (If you’re curious, I adjusted for the sweetness of the lemon by cutting down the sugar in the filling by a quarter cup and adding a teaspoon of zest, which I imagine did the trick; the pan disappeared in less than a day.)

    Anyway, I haven’t yet congratulated you on your new place – I can only imagine how difficult it must be not only to find a potentially inhabitable Parisian dwelling but to deal with a huge remodel – major kudos to you for taking on such an enormous project. I’m crossing my fingers everything works out in your favor!

  • damn damn damn damn. I laughed at your NY’s post about abandoning the quest for a granola bar recipe, but inside I cried at the same time. Because I have been trying for years (half-heartedly and in spits and spurts) to get my recipe right. And never have managed to yet.

    And then today’s post. I got so excited seeing the picture. …

    Saliva was almost dripping from my chin.

    But then I read it. So yes, I understand the need to move on, and I applaud that. But I will have to continue the seemingly fruitless (ha!) quest for the perfect granola bar recipe…

    By the way, my best cobbled-together recipe so far has a little corn syrup but most of the sweetener is from orange juice.. But they are a non-crunchy variety..

  • I had a good laugh at myself…after reading your entire post (still thinking your granola bars looked delicious), I was desperately searching for the ingredients. I know you’ve sworn off making granola bars, but I’m not a super particular person (shame on me), so I would definitely eat them….even worth scraping off a cutting board. I was curious because I have a TON of walnuts and a bunch of dates that I was going to turn into a granola/energy bar creation and was hoping for some tips. Good luck on all the house endeavors and remember, if you don’t like the way your granola bars turn out, I probably do. ;)

  • Granola bars are just not worth the effort. They have this rep for being healthy, but to make them edible you have to load them with as much, if not more, junk than you’ll find in a good, honest cookie.

    I sympathize with your urge to try to fix them, though. When a recipe doesn’t come out right, I try to save it because I hate the idea of wasting the money I spent on the ingredients. The hard part is determining when I’m wasting even more money by trying to repair it. The best course most of the time, unfortunately, is to just bite the bullet and toss it right away…

  • je viens de faire des granolas,je vais essayer cette recette maintenant ,c’est tellement bon….

    Amicalement,

    manon

  • I’m with ParisGrrl. You could do a little freezer space auction in exchange for cookies. No, make that ice cream.

  • I have been trying for years to create a low fat/oil granola bar but they have never been as dry and easy to eat as the commerical varieties.

  • Aussi mauvais que c’est photogénique?

  • When you’re settled, if you ever feel the need to try granola bars one more time, bear in mind that even the most disastrous result can be hacked up, (therapeutic!), added to some additional oatmeal…maybe a bit of flour and butter, and strewn over a pan full of raw apple chunks. You’ll end up with great apple crisp every time, and you can feel good about eating apples….practically health food!

    Sort of health food, kind of. Okay, maybe not. But it will taste great, trust me.

  • I’m going through a renovation myself. You verbalized my feelings perfectly. Had to chuckle as I too have been barked at many times and had the same stress in making a life decision. Only one month to go. Looking forward to seeing your completed project.

  • Sherry: These were so gooey and molten (and sweet) that it was impossible to chop them, let alone cut them into shapes. Perhaps they could have been melded with flour and some butter and baked into a cake, but…

    Mike: I had to learn a lot of French vocabulary (and addresses!) because of the unique words used for electrical wiring, plumbing, and woodwork. Good luck to you, wherever you are!

  • I have to agree, sometimes frugality is a false virtue….I have a tendency to freeze mistakes, and then to dispose of them weeks later. I’ve found that it helps to be drinking when throwing things out; it blunts the guilt….cushions the shame.