Homemade Granola Bars

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Granola Bar

My daughter is crazy for granola bars. Between sports workouts and working her show lambs granola bars are her snack of choice for a quick energy packed pick-me-up. Unfortunately, most of the store bought granola bars are nutritionally no better than candy. Their cleverly designed packaging only makes them look like they are natural. The few that are truly natural are so tasteless it’s like eating cardboard and they cost like the dickens.

So, out of sheer necessity I was on the hunt again for a homemade alternative to a store bought item. After a bit of research and a few experiments I think I’ve found an unbeatable recipe for homemade granola bars. The list below is the core ingredients for the recipe, but it can be easily changed to accommodate personal tastes and preferences.

The cost of making your own nutritious flavor-packed granola bars is pennies on the dollar compared to their store-bought counterparts. But what’s even better than their low cost and high food value is that these bars are truly delicious — as any snack food (nutritious or otherwise) should be in order to make the list of favorites.

2½ cups rolled oats (old-fashioned or instant)
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup raw chopped peanuts
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup chopped pecans
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 cup raisins
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300°F. Spread the oats, coconut, seeds, wheat germ and nuts evenly on a 9″ x 12″ baking sheet. Bake the dry ingredients for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep oven on.

While dry ingredients are baking, heat butter, brown sugar and honey in a small saucepan. Allow mixture to simmer until dry ingredients are ready to come out of the oven. (For really crispy granola, bake the dry ingredients a few minutes longer.) As soon as the dry ingredients are out, stir in raisins, mixing well.

Remove saucepan from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Pour hot liquid over dry ingredients and mix until all dry ingredients are coated.

Press granola firmly into the bottom of a greased 8″ x 8″ pan and bake for 20 minutes. An 8″ x 8″ pan makes one-inch thick bars; if you want thinner bars, use a slightly larger pan.

Remove pan from the oven and cool slightly before cutting into squares. Wait until bars are completely cool before removing from the pan.


The following variations on the basic granola recipe are proven delicious, but are not the only options. Be creative according to your tastes.

Add diced figs, dates, apples, apricots or other dried fruit in addition to or instead of the raisins.

Add 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter to the honey mixture.

Substitute a cup of rolled wheat or rye for one of the 2-1/2 cups of oats.

Add 1/2 cup poppy seeds, soy grits, seven-grain cereal or bran to the oat mixture.

Use carob chips or your favorite nut in the dry ingredients, either in addition to or in place of the listed nuts.

Use a little molasses to replace some of the honey.

You can also experiment with various spices like cinnamon, nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice with diced dried apples, or a little shredded orange peel with orange juice (but be careful to use no more than half a cup of juice, since too much liquid will make the bars fall apart).


Creative Commons License photo credit: bigal_60714

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