The Granola Bar Recipe No Family Should Be Without
Everyone needs a go-to snack that’s easy to pack along for baseball games, play group, travel, or hectic meals on the road. These homemade granola bars satisfy the “easy” part on all counts. They’re easy to make, easy to freeze, easy to pack, and cheaper than ready-made granola bars. I double dog dare any packaged granola bar to stand up to these.
You’re going to love them.
We live far enough away from civilization that even a trip to the grocery store is a big event; like a mini road trip. So I’m always hunting for homemade snack recipes that are easy to pack along for the kids. Granola bars are something I always wanted to make, but most of the recipes I could find called for marshmallows to hold the bars together, and I really wanted to keep mine healthy and natural. When one of my favorite food bloggers posted this recipe, packed with crunchy nuts, sweetened with honey, and made with 100% real food, I was sooo glad my pantry was already stocked with the ingredients. We’ve been making them in quadruple batches ever since. Enough to enjoy for a day or two and still save plenty for later in the freezer.
Our pantry almost always holds a good supply of raisins and dried apricots, so along with almonds, which are ever present in our home, these have been our flavors of choice. This combination has never disappointed anyone at our house, but here are some more exotic suggestions.
Chocolate Cherry: use dried cherries, chocolate chips, walnuts or pecans for the dried fruits and nuts
Tropical: use snipped dried pineapple, mango, and shredded coconut for the dried fruits and nuts
Peanut Butter: omit the dried fruits and 2 tablespoons of the honey and add 1/2 cup peanut butter
Chocolate Peanut Butter: omit the dried fruits and 2 tablespoons of the honey and add 1/2 cup peanut butter plus 1 cup chocolate chips
Maple Walnut: omit dried fruits, substitute pure maple syrup in place of the honey, maple sugar in place of the rapadura, and use walnuts for the nuts
Fig: use 2 cups snipped dried figs for the dried fruit and one cup almonds or walnuts
Cranberry: use 2-3 cups dried cranberries or a combination of cranberries and raisins for the fruit, walnuts and a little extra vanilla might be good additions here too
Adapted from Deb at Smitten Kitchen, who adapted the recipe from King Arthur Flour
1 2/3 cup quick or regular rolled oats (I used regular rolled because it’s all I had, but I think quick oats would yield a more consistent texture.)
1/2 cup rapadura, maple sugar, or sugar
1/3 cup oat flour (I processed 1/3 cup of rolled oats in my vita mix)
1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt or other good quality salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2-3 cups dried fruit and nuts, chopped if the fruit is bigger than raisins (I used 1 cup raisins, 1 cup chopped almonds, and 1 cup chopped apricots)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons honey
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 x 8″ pan with parchment paper one way, allowing it to lap over the edges of the pan so it will be easy to take the bars out. Butter the parchment paper and the exposed part of the pan. *Don’t skip this step. The parchment is absolutely necessary if you want to get the granola out of the pan in the form of bars.
Stir together the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts.
In a separate bowl, combine the vanilla, melted butter, and honey, then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Press it into your prepared pan. Press firmly so that everything sticks together.
Bake the bars for 30 minutes or so, until they’re lightly browned on the edges and top. Then cool the bars completely in their pan. You could also lift the bars out with the parchment paper and cool them on a rack. When they’re cool, use a serrated knife to cut the granola into bars. The original recipe suggests that you put the whole pan in the fridge to chill for half an hour or so if you have problems with the bars crumbling. I didn’t have any issues with crumbling, which is part of the reason this has been the perfect bar for us.
We always freeze any leftover bars and use them for travel food, so I don’t know how long they’ll keep at room temperature. It does seem that they’d be best kept in the fridge or freezer, individually wrapped for grab-and-go-convenience.
Makes 9-12 small-ish bars.
This is a very flexible recipe, open to whatever rolled cereal, nut, seed, or dried fruit seems good to you. I’d love to hear what flavor combinations you try. Your comments are welcome below.
You’ll find all kinds of rolled cereals, dried fruits, sweeteners, nuts, and seeds on our order form here.