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Aug
01
2013

Homemade Granola Bars

For kicks, I made my first ever batch of homemade granola bars last weekend and thought I'd share the recipe with you. I would make one change to what I did, so I'll let you learn from my mistake. This recipe is infinitely adaptable, depending on what nuts, seeds and dried fruits you like, so feel free to modify. I recommend keeping the overall quantities similar so that there is enough "glue" to hold everything together.

This is NOT by any means low-calorie, what with all the nuts and seeds, but you can at least feel good that the calories you're consuming are from healthy and whole foods, with only a minor amount of sugar (which you can omit if you prefer).

I changed my ingredients slightly from the original recipe because I wanted to include pumpkin seeds since they are high in trace minerals like zinc, magnesium and iron. Also, Adam picked up a mix of tropical dried fruits, containing pineapple, papaya, coconut and more. The original recipe called for raisins, dried cherries and dried apples, if I remember correctly.

So you really can use whatever you like and even make them multiple times with different ingredients per batch to see what you like best.

The one major mistake I made is that I replaced the almond butter with peanut butter. Honestly, I didn't have any special intention. I was just trying to be good about using what was in the pantry since I already had to buy a good number of the ingredients for this recipe. (Though, I have plenty of leftover seeds and such, so I can definitely make more batches without having to run back to the store!)

However, peanut butter is a very strong flavor, and commercial peanut butter specifically (as opposed to natural), is a bit sweet. So the unfortunate result is that my first batch turned out just slightly overwhelmingly peanut buttery. Not inedible, but a little overpowered.

So my one recommendation is that, if you do make these, either blend up your own nut butter real quick or go ahead and buy a mild one (almond, cashew) to use in the recipe. That way it doesn't completely take over.

Also, I was tempted to omit the sugar (in fact, the recipe I posted here already reduces the original quantity by half), but I was a little concerned about having enough of the sticky mixture to hold everything together. So if you want to omit processed sugar altogether, you could probably just increase the honey by a tablespoon or two and be perfectly fine.

What you're left with is a whole bunch of delicious goodness without chemicals or preservatives. Oh, and I should mentioned that these are chewy instead of crunchy, for those of you who prefer that texture. I'm guessing you could bake instead of chill them if you wanted crunchy ones, but don't take my word for it. I'm no expert! I only know that's how it works with biscotti.

This recipe was so fast and easy, it's totally worth your time. I think it took me an hour or less, with measuring, toasting, heating and mixing. The fridge does the rest of the work for you. This has been part of a delicious breakfast for us this week! (245 calories per bar, for anyone keeping track.)

Recipe below and in the sidebar for future reference.


Honey Almond Granola Bars

Adapted from EatingWell.com

Ingredients

  • 1 C. old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 C. slivered almonds
  • 2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. milled flaxseed
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 1 C. unsweetened whole grain cereal (I used Kashi Go Lean Honey Almond Crunch)
  • 1 C. assorted dried fruits (raisins, cranberries, cherries, apples, etc.)
  • 1/4 C. creamy almond butter
  • 2 Tbsp. raw or brown sugar
  • 1/4 C. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat an 8" square baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Spread oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds on a large, rimmed baking sheet (no need to grease). Bake 8-10 minutes, shaking pan halfway through, until everything is lightly toasted and fragrant. (Keep an eye on it after the first 5 minutes because it can burn quickly. Better to under-toast than char.) Set baking sheet on rack to cool slightly.

After a few minutes, transfer toasted ingredients to a large mixing bowl and toss with the milled flaxseed, cereal and dried fruit.

In a small saucepan, combine almond butter, sugar, honey, vanilla and almond extracts and salt. Heat at or just above medium, stirring frequently, until the mixture bubbles slightly.

Immediately pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients in the bowl and stir with a spatula until no dry spots remain. Transfer the granola mixture to the greased 8" pan and use the spatula to press the granola firmly into an even layer. (If this doesn't work well for you, you can also wait until the granola cools enough to handle, lightly coat your hands with oil and press with your hands.

Refrigerate 30-60 minutes and cut into 8 bars. I store mine in the fridge to keep the bars firm.

Homemade Granola Bars
Copyright 2004-2017 Elizabeth Shiver