I made another batch of granola bars this weekend, this time figuring out how to incorporate some overripe bananas, because I have way too many. I’m currently out of honey, so for the sweetener/binder I tried sorghum, and I love the way it turned out.
Sorghum, also called “sorghum molasses” or “sorghum syrup” is made from the stalks of sorghum grass, which have a higher sugar content than many other grasses. It has a texture similar to honey and a color that’s a deep reddish-brown, with the same sweetness but an earthier, almost spicy flavor.
Before transporting food long distances became cheap, sorghum was a common sweetener in parts of North America where sugar cane wouldn’t grow. It was also preferred by abolitionists, since most sugar cane was grown and harvested by slaves while profiting slave owners.
I like sorghum because it’s a sweetener that’s made locally and tastes delicious. If you’ve never had it before, it’s reminiscent of light molasses. This recipe is a great introduction to the sweetener because it uses just a bit, letting you familiarize yourself with the flavor before going whole hog.
If it turns out you like the flavor and want a recipe with even more sorghum goodness, try my ginger muffins.
1¾ cups rolled oats (old-fashioned or quick style)
¾ cup pretzels, chopped
1/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/3 cup overripe banana, mashed (about half a banana)
1/3 cup sunflower seeds, salted
2/3 cup chopped peanuts, unsalted
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped raisins
¾ cup natural peanut butter (I used unsweetened, with salt)
¼ cup sorghum
3 Tablespoons butter (I used salted)
Mix all dry ingredients (*oats, pretzels, coconut, sunflower seeds, chopped peanuts, chocolate chips* and raisins) together in a bowl.
Heat honey, peanut butter, and butter together on the stove on low heat, or in microwave until butter is melted and mixture warm. (Took two 30 second sessions in my microwave.) Stir until smooth. Then mix in banana.
Pour syrup mixture into dry ingredients and mix well.
Press into the bottom of a greased 9" x 12" baking dish.
Score into bar shapes. (I do 16 bars per pan.)
Bake about 15 minutes in a 350ºF oven.
Let cool completely before removing bars from pan. Recut along the lines you scored before baking, then remove pieces from baking dish.
Recipe Type: Snack, Breakfast
Let cool completely before removing bars from pan. If you try to remove them when warm, they will fall apart.