Homemade Granola Bars

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Homemade Granola Bars

September 6, 2013

We are officially back to school in our house.  No more 3 days of preschool; we are into the big leagues of Kindergarten!  I decided that I would make some homemade granola bars for school snacks.  My husband is also a huge fan of yogurt parfaits for breakfast and bedtime snacks, so I thought I would start with homemade granola.  Both are really easy to make and probably a bit too sweet. We cut down the sugar, syrup and cinnamon.

Step one – Make your Granola

Ingredients:

  • · 6 cups quick-cooking oats
  • · 1 cup almonds or preferred nut, chopped
  • · 1 1/2 cups brown sugar (1 cup is sufficient)
  • · 1/3 cup water
  • · 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • · 1/4 cup maple syrup (maybe a little less even!)
  • · 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • · 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon (I think 2 is too much)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan (or whatever large size baking pan you have available–enough to fit 6 cups of oats in an even layer no more than two inches thick). Pour oats and chopped nuts into prepared pan.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Oats in a bowl
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat brown sugar and water until it just begins to boil. Turn off heat, then stir in oil, syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon. Pour over oats mixture and stir until all of the oats are evenly coated. Pat oats evenly into bottom of pan so that the layer is no more than two inches thick. (This will help your granola achieve optimal crispiness!)                                                                               granola sauce
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes (stirring every 15 minutes), or until toasted and a dark golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely in pan before crumbling. The granola might still look a bit soft until it cools completely and then it hardens.  I think a total cooking time of 45 minutes with stirring at the 15 and 30 minute marks worked perfectly.  Store in an airtight container.

granola baking in oven  finished granola

 

 Step 2 – Use your homemade Granola to make Granola Bars!

My daughter loves mini marshmallows, so we decided to make a S’mores Granola Bar.  You could also substitute dried fruit for the marshmallows. I used a bit less honey and sugar as the first time I made these they were a bit too soft.

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar or brown rice syrup (or less!)
  • 1/4 cup honey (or less)
  • 2 cups plain granola (I also mixed in flax seed)
  • 1 cup rice cereal (Rice Krispies, etc.)
  • 2 tbsp. graham cracker crumbs (optional- we left this one out)
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

 

  1. Lightly spray a 9×9 dish. I used my silicone pan and it worked great.
  2. Combine butter, honey and brown sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the butter is melted.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sugar is dissolved, 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
  4. Combine the dry ingredients with the sugar mixture. Very gently fold in the marshmallows.                                                                                                                                                           making bars
  5. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly with a spatula to evenly fill.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips onto the top of the granola and gently press them down. I laid a piece of wax (parchment would work too) paper over the pan and then pressed down.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            pressing down
  6. Let sit for 15-20 minutes or until mostly cooled and set; lift out of the pan and cut into bars. I put mine into the fridge for half an hour and then cut them.  I wrapped each one individually and froze them!                                 cut up     ready for freezer

Enjoy (and feel good knowing EXACTLY what is in those granola bars that you send to school!)

 

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