(Our granola bars all wrapped up and ready in what has become the official granola bar basket!)
Rating: 5 stars
Prep time: Easy
Source: My friend Stacy
I've been wanting to do homemade granola bars for months, but just couldn't find a recipe I liked the look of. The one that came most highly recommended used an ENTIRE CAN OF SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK to hold it all together. Now, I like sweetened condensed milk as much as the next person (almost as much as Winnie the Pooh), but let me tell you something about the sticky stuff. It has 22 grams of sugar...per tablespoon. So, for obvious reasons, I opted against that recipe. When I found this granola bar recipe on my friend's blog, I was so excited. I made it for the first time last week, and we're already on our second batch! These make great take-along snacks for class/work/gym/errand-running/whatever. They're also delicious for breakfast. And unlike the sweetened condensed milk recipe, these granola bars only have roughly 10 grams of sugar per bar (if you cut them into 15 squares like I do).
1/4 cup sugar (I prefer brown)
1/4 cup maple syrup (I'd also like to try molasses, since I don't have real maple syrup and my fake stuff isn't very healthy!)
1/4 cup honey
2 T peanut butter
1 T milk
1 t vanilla
1 cup wheat flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t allspice (I use nutmeg because I have no allspice; it gives my bars a nice autumnal flavor!)
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups rice krispie cereal
1/3 cup chocolate chips (I like to chop mine up a bit so that the chocolate is more evenly distributed.... you could also use mini chocolate chips) - The chocolate is technically optional, but what's a granola bar without a little chocolate?
Anything else you want—dried fruit, nuts, seeds, etc. I typically use a mix of sunflower, pumpkin, and flax seeds.
Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl, combine first seven ingredients and mix well. In smaller bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and allspice/nutmeg. If you're lazy like me and don't want to use two bowls, here's my cheat: I pour the flour on top of the wet mix in one corner, and then add the soda and spices on top of the flour. I gently mix all the dry things in without incorporating the wet mix, so that the soda and spices are mostly blended through the flour. Then I integrate it all together. Pour dry mix into wet mix and stir to combine. Add oats, cereal, chocolate, and extras. Mix well. Press into greased 9x13 pan and, using a sharp knife, cut into 15 squares. Cook for 18-20 minutes (in my oven it's exactly 18). If your oven is cheap like mine and cooks unevenly, you might want to turn the pan halfway through cooking so that the bars are evenly cooked and not overdone on one side. Granola bars will look light brown and toasted when they're ready. They'll still be very soft while they're hot, so don't take that as a sign that they need more cooking! Let cool completely in pan. Once bars are cool, re-cut along the lines you put in at the beginning and wrap individual bars in plastic wrap. Enjoy! Try not to eat them too quickly....