If you are like me, you have had your fair share of granola bars throughout your life-time. Most of which left you wondering why the hype? I have had granola bars that were claiming to be well-known desserts, but were simply repulsive. I have nibbled on granola bars with all of the ingredients featured in trail mix that were lack-luster to say the least. Eating healthily and a diet filled with natural ingredients are en vogue right now which has led to a an over-saturation of the market with granola related products. It is daunting to navigate through all of the varieties of granola bars some labelled as meal replacements others as healthy snacks, and even some attempting to be dessert substitutions. I have found a granola bar that is all of this and more. It has the capabilities of being gluten-free, nut-free, and dairy-free. It’s chefs choice and you (reader) are the chef!
I would not have found this recipe if it weren’t for Valerie, whom I met through work. She is a fellow-foodie with whom I exchange recipes and baked goods all of the time. She made these once and gave me a bite. I have been making them ever since that day. Thank you, for sharing this recipe with me, Valerie!!
I made batch of these mid-week and I have been spreading natural peanut butter on top for lunch. They keep me full for hours, no exaggeration! These have revolutionized my repertoire and are a MUST make, seriously! Scratch these off of your bucket list this weekend!
Granola Bars (adapted from smitten kitchen)
1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats
1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar (use more for a sweetness akin to most purchased bars; use less for a mildly sweet bar)
1/3 cup oat flour (I just blended 1/3 cup oats in my food processor)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 to 3 cups dried fruits and/or nuts (total of 10 to 15 ounces)*
1/3 cup any nut butter (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons melted butter or oil
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan with parchment paper or coat pan with a non-stick spray.
Put all of the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts in one bowl. In another bowl, mix together the vanilla, melted butter or oil, and your sweet substances of choice. Mix both bowls together (and nut butter, if you’ve chosen to use it) until the mixture is evenly combined. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing mixture firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan.
Bake the bars for 30-40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges —They may appear undercooked, but will set completely once allowed to cool.
Cool the bars in their pan completely or on a cooling rack.
Once cool, cut the bars into squares.
To store, I wrap the bars individually in plastic and place in a zip-lock bag in the refrigerator. I bring them to room temperature before eating.
*Suggestions: Dried cranberries, apricots, pecans, sunflower seeds, coconut, walnuts, sesame seeds, pepitas, dried pples or even chocolate chips. My bars (pictured): dried cranberries, pecans, golden raisins, and dark chocolate chunks. Valerie makes hers with millet and that is a great addition. I am going to try adding raw quinoa to my next batch, I will keep you posted on the results!