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In my quest to remove more and more pre-made, convenience foods from our kitchen and dietary habits, I went hunting for a granola bar recipe.  Granola is yummy, and we love it as cereal, on oatmeal, or just as a snack.  Our son loves Quaker Chewy bars, and now that Quaker has removed the HFCS part of their recipe (which purportedly keeps whole grains ‘fresh’), I didn’t mind buying them – with a doubled coupon when they were on sale.

But what I found was that even on sale, he plowed through a box.  And when I had one, I found them tasty, but unsatisfying – they felt like a lot of air in my mouth and didn’t give me stuff to chew on (literally).  And because I have oats in 25 lb quantities from the Cannery, I decided there must be a whole-grain/whole-food recipe out there.

I found a decent one at Food Storage Made Easy, but it wasn’t quite up to my nutritional goals for my family.  So I began tweaking.  The first tweak found them cloyingly sweet.  Nuts.   Time to muddle with the sugar content.  I found that by mixing sweeteners (brown sugar, honey, and maple syrup), I hit a great combination of tastes (a less one-dimensional sweetness; a fuller taste of lightly-sweet), and I cut the sugar content of the original recipe by 2 tablespoons.  In an attempt to make the bars “chewy,” I under-baked them.  That didn’t work so well, so the next time I baked them longer – I intended to go the full time on the original recipe, but I found that the goal of “light browning” wasn’t met.  The “chewy” aspect (as in, “soft & chewy”) wasn’t met, but the chewiness of whole grains was certainly met.

I will likely add in dried tart cherries the next time I make these – you can use any variety of dried fruit you’d like for yours.  I do add dark cacao chips to mine – they’re not too sweet and they add a decadent taste.  Because the ingredients came from our food storage, I’m also classifying them as a Food Storage Recipe.  :)

Homemade Granola Bars
  • 4½ c. rolled oats
  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 5 T.  coconut oil or butter, softened
  • ¼ c.  honey
  • 3 T. packed brown sugar
  • ¼ c. Grade B maple syrup
  • ¾ c. dried fruit (raisins, cherries, diced apricots – whatever)
  • ¾ c. dark chocolate chips (optional)
  • chopped nuts, if desired

Preheat your oven to 325ºF and grease a 9×13 pan liberally with either coconut oil or butter.

In the bowl of your mixer, combine all except the dried fruit, optional nuts, and chocolate.  Allow the mixer to mix everything thoroughly and well – I use speed 2 or 3 on my Kitchen Aid for several minutes.  Add in dried fruit, chocolate, and optional nuts and mix thoroughly (I do this in the mixer).

Spread out the crumbly mixture in your pan, as seen here:

Then you must pack the granola down so that it will keep its shape as a bar once they are pre-cut and baked.  I do this with a wooden rice paddle – the flat side really helps with compacting the grains and good stuff in the recipe.  If you skip this step, you’ll have bars that are crumbly and make a mess when you try to eat them.  😐

I tried something new when I made this batch; like the dog cookie recipe, I pre-cut the bars.  I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but the original recipe said you had to wait a specific amount of time to cut the bars after baking and then let them cool completely.  If I didn’t have my hands in so many things around here, that directive wouldn’t be a problem.  But that’s not my reality.  My reality is “I’m pulling something out of the oven, putting something else in, swapping stones, and cleaning or doing other work at the same time” – and remembering to cut dense granola bars at a specific time isn’t gonna happen.

As you can see, I used my scraper (I think Alton calls it a “Bash & Chop”) to press down in to the densely-packed granola and made appropriately-sized bars.

The final, pre-baked product looks like this:

I baked the bars for 25 minutes (I checked at 18, 22, and then 25) and they were great.  They aren’t soft & chewy, but they aren’t bricks, either.  They aren’t overly sweet, they have great mouth-feel, and they are substantial (in other words, one bar is completely fine with a cuppa coffee for breakfast).

Enjoy – we love ’em!  :)

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  • Tricia Fraser

    Hi Sue,
    I would love to try this recipe, but I don’t have a stand mixer. Dare I try to mix it by hand, or would that be just asking for a case of “dough-mixing elbow”? 😉 My hand mixer is also getting old, but that’s another option.

  • http://www.mamasheartblog.com sue

    Hi Trish –

    I think you could do it with a hand-mixer, or by hand if you do a half-batch at once. One thing I find with the recipe is that it’s very dense when mixing – the oats, the whole wheat flour, and the sweeteners combine well, but it’s stiff. I would say mix half-batches at one time if your mixer is old or you do it by hand – or get John in on it and have him mix it! 😉 Strong husbands are great for this stuff! LOL

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QEM3CFXCYFT7Y6CXUSOBC6W5SA Kids Behealthy

    Me and my kids loves granola bars. But because it is pre-made I am not certain if the ingredients are all healthy. So I decided to make my own raw food recipe granola bars recipe seen above.

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