Granola bars are something that my husband and I are big fans of. He takes two of them to work for a snack everyday and I like to grab one to eat in the car on my way to work or at my desk once I get to work.
Well, our favorite store brand changed their product so I decided to take matters into my own hands and start making them myself. The prices at the store were increasing anyway and the bars kept getting smaller and smaller. So, by making them myself, I can control the size and quality of ingredients. I don’t think we will buy them from the store ever again.
So far I have tried three different recipes (all listed below). We have enjoyed them all and I will definitely make them all again for variety. But I have a few other recipes saved as well, so I’ll be trying them in the near future to continue our quest for a favorite.
The first was the hubs favorite. It is full of dried fruit and has a nice chewy texture.
Homemade Granola Bars (recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa, as seen on Pennies on a Platter)
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates – I used 1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots – I used 1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter an 8 x 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper. (I used a glass 9 x 13 pyrex baking dish.)
Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.
Reduce the oven temperature to 300˚F.
Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dried fruit and stir well.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.
The next recipe is much softer, almost cookie like. It was probably my favorite.
Chewy Granola Bars (as seen on Delicious Melicious)
3 1/2 c. oatmeal
1 c. rice crispies
1 c. flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c. melted butter
1 mashed banana
1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 c. Dark Chocolate M&M’s –I used mini chocolate chips
1/2 c. raisins – I used golden raisins
1/2 c. slivered almonds
Preheat oven to 325F. Grease or spray a 9 x 13 pan.
In large bowl, mix everything except the chocolate, raisins and nuts. Add those after the oatmeal mixture is well mixed.
Press into pan. Bake for 18-22 min, until golden brown. Cool 10 min, slice. Cool completely before removing from pan.
The third recipe is most like what I was buying at the store, so I’m sure I will make it frequently. An added bonus is that it doesn’t need baked…perfect for summer, when I try to not use my oven as much.
Peanut Butter Granola Bars (adapted from Stephanie Cooks)
2 1/2 cups Fiber One cereal
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup chopped almonds or peanuts (I used almonds)
I added about 1/3 cup wheat germ
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional) – I used mini chocolate chips but I think peanut butter chips would be perfect too
Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, stir together the cereal, oats and nuts and wheat germ. Set aside.
Combine the brown sugar and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat just until boiling, then remove from heat and stir in peanut butter, salt, vanilla and cinnamon until smooth. Pour over the cereal and oat mixture, stirring quickly (as sugar mixture cools it hardens quickly). Immediately press mixture into the prepared pan using the back of a large spatula. Lightly press chocolate chips into top of bars (if using). Refrigerate for about 1 hour, then cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.