Very Small Anna

From the Pastry Dungeon: Red Currant Almond Granola Bars

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[Photograph: Anna Markow]

People always like to pepper chefs with questions that, to an outsider, ought to have obvious answers but are in fact a little silly. I repeatedly have people grilling me on what my favorite thing to make (or worse, ask what my "specialty" is), and I never know how to answer that. I like making ALL kinds of desserts, and I wouldn't be a very good chef if I didn't make a variety of things.

People also like to ask about my baking habits outside of work, and until I started writing this column, I used to laugh at them. As much as I love what I do, it's often the last thing I think about doing at home in my fleeting free time. Though these days I do at least try to keep the kitchen stocked with staples like homemade vanilla ice cream and the occasional breakfast treat.

I'm not a fan of anything sweeter than fruit first thing in the morning, but my husband loves granola, so there's often a few containers of maple pecan granola scattered around. Since he started working early in the morning, I had to convert his usually streuselly breakfast into something portable. I recently splurged on a couple of containers of locally grown red currants and knew they'd be excellent with both the sliced almonds and almond flour I had stashed away.

These bars taste not unlike pie, from both the toasty oats and almonds and the jammy currants. They're on the softer side of the granola bar spectrum, and provide a delicious boost of protein and good fats from the almonds and almond flour, fiber from the oats and vitamin C from the currants, all with relatively little sugar, which is only present in the form of honey. Delicious with a cup of coffee or tea, they make a unique on-the-go breakfast but would not be out of place as part of an afternoon tea.

About the Author: Anna Markow is a pastry chef obsessed with doing things that no one else does and giving unusual ingredients their time to shine. You can follow her sometimes-pastry-related thoughts on Twitter @VerySmallAnna.

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