We tried making granola bars before, with okay results. They would have been better if I had followed the recipe rather than adding in apple sauce, like some of the notes suggested, but they were still decent. That being said, I hadn't tried it again.
Until I saw these. The recipe is not actually all that different from the first one that I tried - the proportions of a couple of the ingredients were a little different, but not all that much. I knew it was time to give it another go.
This was a great recipe for us to tackle on one of those afternoons last week where little miss was a little rammy and we needed an activity to keep our hand busy for about half an hour before dinner. Little miss was happy to jump right in with both feet... er... hands. She measured the dry ingredients and helped me decide what goodies should go in these. Granola bars are pretty versatile, and can include just about any nut, dried fruit, seed or chips you want. This recipe called for chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. I didn't have peanut butter chips, so gave little miss the choice between butterscotch chips and flaked coconut. She chose coconut, so she added half a cup into our bowl.
While she was taking care of the dry ingredients, I was measuring and mixing the wet ones. When we were both ready, we took turns mixing the two together - me with my spoon, her with her hands. The idea was to make sure that there wer no dry bits left and that the chips and coconut were evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
Once ready to go, the mixture was pressed into a foiled and greased 9" x 13" pan. And yes, little miss still has impecable timing for popping her head into my shots... but that's okay - it wasn't that interesting a picture anyway...
The next choice that little miss had to make regarding these was whether she wanted her granola bars to be chewy or crunchy, because that would determine the baking time. For chewier bars, you take them out of the oven earlier, for crunchier ones, leave them in longer. Little miss chose chewy, so I set the timer for 15 minutes. When the timer beeped, I checked my bars, but they were still a little softer than we wanted, so I popped them back in and checked on them every minute or two. After another 4 minutes or so, they looked great, so I pulled them out of the oven and reached for the pizza cutter. I carefully cut these in the pan fresh from the oven to make sure they didn't become too hard to cut. Once they cooled part way, I moved them from the pan to a cooling rack to cool completely.
I am so happy that I found this recipe and that it inspired me to give homemade granola bars another chance. Little miss calls these "those awesome granola bars that mommy made,"
and I totally feel good about letting her eat them. And the batch made 16 bars for less than the price of a box you'd buy in the store, which has half as many. I can't wait to finish these and make another batch with raisins and dried apricots... or dried cranberries and nuts... the possibilities are endless!
(from Buns In My Oven)
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried, flaked coconut
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg beaten
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9" x 13" baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a small bowl mix together the wet ingredients. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix well (use your hands - it's easiest!). Pat the mixture into the foil lined pan.
Bake for 15-20 minutes if you want chewy granola bars, 20-25 minutes for crunchy. When the edges start to brown, remove the pan from the oven and let it cool for a couple of minutes. Use a pizza roller to slice into bars. Cool completely before removing from the pan or they will break apart.