A couple of years ago I found this recipe on All Recipes, and I made these bars regularly. For some reason, though, I kind of got out of the habit. I dusted the recipe off lately, though, and my family is very pleased.
Some granola bar recipes employ a method similar to the one used to make Rice Krispie bars, where you make a syrup, pour it over oatmeal and some other ingredients, press the mixture into a pan, and let it cool. This is not such a recipe…instead, this is more similar to the way you make muffins or cookies. You mix the dry ingredients, mix the wet ingredients, combine them, spread them into a pan, and bake them. The resulting granola bars are dense and somewhat chewy, which is how we like them.
It’s possible that you could buy packaged granola bars for less than what these would cost, but I really prefer to make my own for several reasons.
First, by making my own, I have complete control over what I put into them. There’s no high fructose corn syrup in these, no fillers, and no preservatives. I can pronounce every single ingredient. If I want to use whole wheat flour, instead of white flour, I can.
Another advantage to this control is that if you have a large enough budget to buy organic ingredients, you can easily make an organic version, and from what I’ve seen, organic homemade granola bars are a lot cheaper than organic purchased granola bars.
Secondly, these require a lot less packaging than commercial bars do. Almost every ingredient they require is available in a recyclable container, and once the bars are baked, I store them in reusable containers. I even use a little glass container when I pack a few in my husband’s lunch.
Purchased granola bars come in a recyclable box, but the packaging each bar is wrapped in is not recyclable, at least in my area. So, homemade granola bars are a more earth friendly option for us.
Homemade Granola Bars
- These freeze nicely, so sometimes I bake two batches, one chocolate chip and one cinnamon-raisin, and freeze some of them.
- The original recipe called for 3/4 cup of sugar, which is overkill in my estimation, especially with the 1/2 cup of honey. I’ve used as little as 1/4 cup and have still come away with family pleasing results. I’ll probably try it without any brown sugar at all next time.
- Whole wheat flour can be substituted for the white flour. I don’t usually do that when I’m making a chocolate chip version, but it works nicely with the raisin type. A 50/50 mix of white and wheat is a good option too.
- If you want to make a chocolate version, leave out the cinnamon, and substitute chocolate chips for the raisins. Mini chips work really well, but in my area they’re more expensive then regular chips, so I use the normal size.
- 2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar(as mentioned, I use 1/4 cup instead)
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup wheat germ(I usually leave this out, because I don’t usually have it around!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped English walnuts(I don’t usually put these in)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1) Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, raisins, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl, making sure to beat the brown sugar lumps into submission.
Of if you’re making chocolate chip bars, you’ll leave the raisins and cinnamon out, and use chocolate chips.
2) Combine egg, oil, honey, and vanilla in a small bowl.
When I’m mixing something like this, I love to use my hand beaters. They cost only a few dollars, require no electricity to operate, and they do a bang-up job of mixing liquid ingredients for muffins, quick breads, pancakes, and of course, granola bars.
See? Less than a minute, and I’m done.
3) Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients,
mix it all up, and dump it into a greased 9×13 inch pan. Using a greased spatula, or a wet spoon, spread it into an even layer.
You will seriously start to think that there is not enough to go around, but if you keep patiently spreading, it will all work out.
4) Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Cool pan on a wire rack, and when it’s all cooled off, you can cut it into whatever size bars you like. Since I’m not very good at this, mine are usually of varying shapes and sizes.