One of the first things to go when our family decided to focus on a healthier, whole foods lifestyle, was chewy granola bars. We were trying to ditch anything with corn syrup and I knew I could make them at home, it was just a matter of finding a good recipe. And let me tell you, there are quite a few recipes out there!! Many of them have mixed reviews, with “they crumble/don’t stay together” being the main complaint. So that sort of scared me away…
Now, a year later, here I am…testing out recipes because a family friend requested some! He was looking for a healthy snack, as he finds himself reaching for candy bars WAY too often during his work day, and requested granola bars. Who am I to say no? This was just the extra “push” I needed. So I hunkered down, scoured the internet, read reviews, and decided to try this one. With a few changes, of course.
In my opinion, granola bars are the perfect quick snack. They are satisfying, portable, easy to make & store, require no special equipment, plus they are so VERSATILE. You can easily switch out ingredients according to what you have on hand, control the level of sweetness, work around food allergies, etc…
The key to this granola bar recipe (and in most others) is to remember that it is all about the RATIO of dry to wet ingredients (in this case, the sugar syrup). So while you can re-create these exactly as written, don’t be afraid to substitute and get creative with flavors! Up the nutrition by adding in flax, chia seeds, oat bran, sesame seeds, etc…just make sure to watch your ratio! And don’t worry…if it ends up too dry/crumbly, simply turn that batch into breakfast granola and try again 🙂
Soft & chewy granola bars – makes 10 bars
1 3/4 cups rolled oats
3/4 -1 cup crispy rice cereal (or another puffed rice/wheat cereal, Chex, even broken preltzels!)
1/2 cup dried fruit or coconut flakes (or a combo of both!)
1/2 cup nuts (we like almonds)
1/4 cup chocolate chips – frozen (optional) **in this recipe, they WILL melt a little, even frozen. I don’t think they are needed for sweetness, but if you don’t mind the chocolate getting a little messy, it’s a tasty addition.
WET ingredients (for the sugar syrup):
3 TBLS butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 TBLS honey
1 tsp vanilla or 1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
1. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment or wax paper and set aside. Have a flexible rubber spatula handy, plus an extra sheet of wax paper.
2. In a large bowl add in all of your dry ingredients and mix.
3. In a small pot, over med-high heat, add in all of the “wet” ingredients. Stir it frequently and bring to a boil, then let it cook for 2 mins & 15 seconds.
4. Add the hot sugar mix into the bowl of dry ingredients, and using your rubber spatula, make sure everything get evenly coated by the syrup.
5. Pour the granola bar mix into your lined 8×8 pan, spread out evenly.
6. Place the extra sheet of wax paper on top of the mixture and PRESS, PRESS, PRESS! Press the mixture really well into the pan, paying special attention to the edges and corners. How well you PRESS the mix into the pan will greatly affect how well the bars stay together once cooled. Once you think you are done….press a little more.
7. If you are adding chocolate chips, you can now scatter them across the top, and press them into the bars really well.
8. Place the pan into the fridge to cool for about an hour, then cut into 10 bars with a sharp knife, a cleaver works great!