Homemade Granola Bars

Cookie, Meatless / Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

School’s out, so my sister, Jennifer, suddenly has a house full of starving kids. I’d probably hook them up to IVs with Otter Pop drips, but she’s tinkered with the granola bar recipe from King Arthur Flour to make it a snack that the kids love.    

By Jennifer Rather.

During the school year, Oldest Son had a serious issue with math. After peeling away the onion layers of why, he finally ‘fessed up: he was sleeping through it.

This was not a problem; this was a challenge.

Math was his first class right after lunch, so I suggested that we replace his carb- and fat-loaded school lunch with an “Energy Lunch.” I think he was hoping I’d put in a stash of Pixy Stix and a Red Bull, but oh no. I believe 93 percent of the world’s problems could be solved with food – more food, less food, better food – so I began the quest for the perfect sustainable energy lunch.

I knew it would have granola. Good carbs, slow-releasers, sustained energy. However, a lot of the packaged granola bars I found weren’t any more nutritious than a candy bar.

So, I started cooking.

The first batch was good, but the granola wouldn’t hold a bar shape.

The second batch had Cap’n Crunch Syndrome. The bars would take the skin off the roof of your mouth.

But the third try was gold. Thick, chewy, delicious granola bars that held their shape but still had some give. Upon first bite, all the men in my house proclaimed they needed to be shared with the world, so I’m sharing.

Like any granola, this recipe is totally customizable to your tastes and pantry. All it needs is the same proportion of wet to dry. I used dried cherries and blueberries in mine, but you could use chocolate chips, raisins, wheat germ, sunflowers seeds, etc.

I started making them for school lunches, but I’m thinking they’ll make a quick, healthy snack for all the “starving” children in my house this summer.

And Oldest Son? He passed math.

Look out, seventh grade.

Homemade Granola Bars

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Makes about 12

  • 1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 to 3 cups of my Favorite Mix* (recipe below) or your choice of dried fruits and nuts (any mix of dried cranberries, cherries, blueberries, raisins, apricots, pecans, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, flax seeds, coconut, sesame seeds, dried apples – even chocolate chips)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter or any nut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon water
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8×8 or 9×9-inch pan, and line it with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the quick rolled oats, oat flour, cinnamon, and your choice of fruits and nuts. Set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the peanut butter, honey, vanilla and water. Heat just until combined. (Do not boil.)
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix well. Transfer to the prepared pan, and press down firmly using wet fingers, a rubber spatula coated in nonstick spray or wax paper.
  5. Bake the bars for 30 to 35 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges. (The center firms as it cools.)
  6. Cool the bars in the pan for 20 to 30 minutes, then place in the refrigerator for a few minutes to finish cooling.
  7. To Serve: Once the bars are cool, if you used parchment paper, you can lift the bars out and slice with a serrated knife. If not, use the serrated knife to slice the bars in the pan. They can be wrapped and stored for up to a week.

*Favorite Mix

  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup psyllium husks
  • 1 scoop vanilla-flavored whey protein powder

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