Do you love granola bars but hate buying prepacked ones because your not sure how healthy they really are? Do you also hate how much those things cost? Have you been thinking about making your own but haven't found the time or just the right recipe? Or would you just like to be able to make a healthy snack for your kids that won't take up your whole day? If you answered yes to any of these then this post is for you.
This recipe is for a basic granola bar...and how to change it up for your own taste or substitute some ingredients for whatever you have in your kitchen. As long as you have a few basics you can easily change this recipe to suit your taste and needs.
The binder for these bars is Brown Rice Syrup. It works far better than honey or other syrups and is not overly sweet so it doesn't overcome the flavor of the other ingredients. I would recommend that you not substitute it.
I found this recipe on TheKitchn.Com and just love how versatile it is. According to the writer you just need to make sure you have 3 1/2 to 4 cups of total granola mix (dry ingredients). You could increase the oats and leave out the cereal, or change the amount of dried fruit or nuts. You can add peanut butter or cocoa if you want. Just leave the amount of binder (brown rice syrup) the same. Basically you just mix the dry ingredients, mix the other ingredients, mix all that together, put in a prepared pan, bake, and cool.
Below is the basic recipe. Here is how I made this today.
Got out all my ingredients. I used sunflower kernels, Craisons, Crispy Rice cereal (like Rice Krispies), Peanut Butter, and Pumpkin Pie Spice along with the oats, brown rice syrup and vanilla.
Line an 8 X 8 baking pan with parchment paper leaving some hanging off two sides. Spray lightly with non-stick spray or use butter.
Mix the dry ingredients.
Microwave the syrup for a few seconds and add the spices and peanut butter or cocoa if your using either of those.
Add the syrup mixture to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Press in your prepared pan and bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
Let cool and cut into bars. I found a pizza cutter works great. Enjoy!
- 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup cereal (*see recommendations), crushed pretzel sticks, or any other crispy grain,
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, peanuts, almonds, pecans, and sunflower seed kernels work well)
- 1/2 to 1 cup dried fruits (cranberries, raisins, and cherries work well)
- 12 cup brown rice syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (I left this out)
- 1/2 1 1 teaspoon spices (try cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice) (optional)
- 3 tablespoons peanut butter or 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (optional for firmer bars)
*crispy rice, puffed millet, high-fiber mix (like Kashi Go Lean), or other crispy cereal.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees with rack in the middle of the oven. Line an 8" X 8" baking pan with parchment paper leaving extra paper hanging over the sides. Lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray or butter.
- If desired you can toast the nuts and grains for 10-15 minutes until toasted and fragrant. If you want softer dried fruit pieces you can also soak the dried fruit in very hot water for 10 minutes and drain before using.
- Mix the oats, cereal, nuts, and dried fruit together in a mixing bowl.
- Warm the Rice syrup for 10-15 seconds in the microwave or in a small saucepan over medium heat. You just want it liquidy enough to pour. Mix in the vanilla extract, salt, spices (if using), and peaunt butter or cocoa powder (if using).
- Pour the rice syrup over the dry ingredients. Use a spatula to scrape the last of the syrup. Stir the rice syrup into the dry ingredients until the ingredients are completely coated and start to stick together in clumps.
- Pour the mixture into prepared pan. Use wet or lightly oiled hands to firmly press the mixture into mixture into the pan.
- Bake the bars for 20-25 minutes for chewy granola bars or 25-30 minutes for crunchy bars. As soon as you remove the bars from the oven, press them again with the back of a lightly oiled spatula. (This will give you more compacted granola bars.)
- Let the bars cool completely in the pan. They will firm up as they cool. Once cooled, cut into 8 bars in the pan with a very sharp knife, then lift the bars by the flaps of parchment to remove from the pan. Store between layers of wax paper in an airtight container for up to two weeks. To make them easier to slip into backpacks and lunch boxes, you can also wrap each bar individually in wax paper or plastic wrap.