Homemade Granola Bars

This is the recipe I have probably made more times than anything else, and I only just discovered it a few months ago. That is how good they are. I usually make these granola bars sometime at the beginning of the week for our lunches. They are also great for breakfast on the run or just after the gym. They also freeze amazingly well. Not to mention the recipe is incredibly flexible and you can pretty much throw whatever you have on hand into them. For instance, I used 1 cups of dried cranberries, 1/2 cup of raisins, 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, and 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts. But you could also use dried cherries or blueberries, pecans, almonds, coconut, apricots or any combination of the above. As well as anything else you can think of, don’t be afraid to be creative. But as is, these are the best things I have ever tasted.

Homemade Granola Bars
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 2/3 cups of quick rolled oats
1/2 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of oat flour
1/2 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of cinnamon
2-3 cups of dried fruit and nuts (cranberries, raisins, chocolate chips, etc)
1/3 cup of peanut butter
1 tsp of vanilla
6 tbsp of melted butter
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp of honey
1 tbsp of water

Preheat the oven to 350 degree and line a 8 by 8 inch square pan with aluminum foil. You could also use parchment paper but I find aluminum foil works much better. Make sure the foil goes up 2 opposite sides far enough to make a sling. Grease with a non-stick spray.

Stir together the rolled oats through dried fruit and nuts in a large bowl. In another bowl add the peanut butter through water and mix well. Stir the wet mixture into the dry until crumbly. Put into the pan and spread evenly. Make sure you press the mixture firmly into the bottom and corners of the pan. You can also use a piece of plastic wrap to help with this.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until browned around the edges. The center will look soft and under baked but will firm up as it cools. Let cool in the pan for about half an hour and then use the sling to remove the bars from the pan and finishing cooling on a wire rack. Once completely cool (will crumble a little otherwise), use a serrated knife to cut into bars. I then wrap the bars individually and keep half out and put the other half in the freezer.

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