At last, I have found a granola bar recipe that my kids love. Good enough that they don't ask me to buy the Trader Joe's granola bars anymore. Good enough that my husband has stopped putting granola bars on the grocery list. I alternate making granola bars with my whole-grain "cookies," so that I always have a delicious kid-friendly snack that's easy to take and eat on-the-go.
I've been looking for the perfect granola bar recipe for a while. Over a period of many months (years?), I've googled, perused, and bookmarked a gazillion recipes. Then I tried the most promising ones. Some recipe authors admitted that their granola bars were crumbly. I did not want crumbly. After making a few duds, I decided to try Bittman's granola bar recipe (the peanut butter variation) which uses granola, oil, honey, and peanut butter.
For the "3 cups not-too-sweet granola" I used my usual granola recipe. The bars were chewy (yes!) but also way too sweet. I tried using significantly less honey, but that made them crumbly. In any granola bar recipe, the sweetener is the glue or binder that holds the granola together. So I made a modified version of my granola recipe with no sweetener, and then used that not-at-all sweet granola to make the granola bars. I also used a little less peanut butter and honey than the original recipe called for and they are still wonderfully chewy. I've made these with almond butter as well. Note that the recipe below is double the size of the Bittman recipe.
Eco-novices Chewy (Not Crumbly) Granola Bars
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup sliced or slivered almonds
1/3 cup sunflower/ sesame seeds
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup oil
Bake 20-25 minutes at 325 on half-sheet pan, stirring every 5-10 minutes. Let cool and then put into a large mixing bowl. This gives you 6 cups not-sweet granola.
Combine in a sauce pan and heat until boiling on the stove (don't let it burn!)
1/2 cup oil
1 cup honey
2/3 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter, such as almond)
Pour boiling mixture into bowl of 6 cups granola (entire recipe above). Mix well. Push into greased 9x13 pan (I use butter to grease). Use a spatula to press down and spread evenly. Cool in refrigerator. After a few hours and once completely cooled, take out of fridge and let them warm up a bit so you can easily slice with a knife or bench scraper into bars. Store in air-tight container.I store mine in Pyrex in the fridge with wax paper between the layers (see photo above). I also always keep 3 or 4 in a small reusable container in the fridge, so that I have something I can quickly grab and take with me to the park or other outing. In my experience, they keep for at least 2 weeks in the fridge.
As you might imagine, they are also just delicious with chocolate chips thrown in (while hot, if you want melted chocolate mixed throughout or once cooled a bit you can put chips on top). I consider the chocolate version to be a sort of homemade candy bar. Dried fruit could easily be added in as well (stir into granola mix before adding hot liquid mixture).
Do you make granola bars? What is your favorite recipe?