Homemade Granola Bars

I love bars.  Cereal bars, granola bars, protein bars, you name it.  They are portable, they are already made, and they are super tasty.  I have tried all kinds of brands and flavors and textures, and I definitely have my favorites, but I know the ones I really love the most are not the best for me.  They are loaded with hidden sugar and additives and preservatives, which I don't want to eat and I don't want the kids eating.  Even the ones with the best ingredient lists still have a sketchy ingredient or two, either that or they taste awful.  There is one fruit and nut bar in particular that when I think of it, I can't get over how dry it is and how tasteless it is.  I have passed my love of bars on to Gus, and so I decided that it was time for us to try and make some on our own.  Plenty of recipes have gone through my Pinterest feed so I looked them over and decided to give it a go.  I tweaked a little here and a little there and came up with a really tasty combination.  And they're really easy to make once you've figured out what you're doing.


Ingredients:

1/2 cup almond butter (I made my own- go here for the recipe)
2 mashed bananas
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup oats (old-fashioned or quick cooking are both fine, just not instant)

I used (about) 1/4 each of the following:
raisins
Craisins
apricots
dried cherries
whole almonds

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine your almond butter, mashed bananas, and honey.  As it heats up, use a whisk to smooth it out.  Make sure it's thoroughly combined (just a few minutes).  Remove from the heat.

In a food processor (this worked the best for me), add your dry mix-ins and pulse/chop until you have small, chunky pieces of everything.  Add the oats and your mix-ins to the saucepan.  Fold everything together with a spatula so it's well-combined but not over mixed.

Pour into a greased loaf pan, press down a little with your spatula to pack the batter down, and bake for 25 minutes.  The edges of your loaf should be slightly brown, so if it looks like it needs a few more minutes, adjust your time as necessary.  Loosen the edges and turn out onto a cooling rack.  Cool completely before cutting them.  Store in an air-tight container.  Makes around 12 bars.



 


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I am actually really amazed at how well these turned out.  They are not crunchy in the typical granola bar way, but they aren't quite as soft as a cereal bar either.  They are a great consistency, and they taste so good.  As they were baking, the whole kitchen started to smell amazing.  The best way I can describe the taste is fresh.  Even though it's dried fruit, there isn't anything dry about them.  I actually couldn't wait to try them so I cut one pretty soon after taking them out of the oven.  Seriously, don't.  Wait until the are cool or else it's going to bust up into little pieces.  (Or, if you want it that way, then go right ahead!)  I actually used a pan that is 4 smaller loaves (I only used 3 of them) so I adjusted my cooking time to 20 minutes.

What I like about the recipe is that:

1. I know exactly what's in it.  I know the sweetener is honey along with the fruit, I know what grain is in it, I know it's healthy.

2. I can change them up to suit the flavor I want.  I want to try it with peanut butter (the more crunchy natural stuff, not Skippy or Jif), but I don't see why you couldn't try cashew butter or any other kind of nut butter.  Pistachio butter was suggested to me, and it sounds great.  You can make your own following that recipe above using roasted nuts.

Mix-in suggestions:

Dried fruit- raisins, Craisins, blueberries, cherries, apricots, dates, plums, etc.  Just watch the sugar content of some of those.

Nuts- almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts, and so on

Seeds- pumpkin, sunflower, flax

Other- dark chocolate chips/chunks, coconut

The list is really endless.  They really are easy, they really are tasty (Gus approved).

If you decide to make them, let me know how they came out and what you added.  I'd love even more suggestions!


8 comments

  1. I really wanna try these. I've been wanting to make my own granola bars!

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  2. Nice! Thanks for sharing. I am going to have to try it minus the nuts. I love granola bars but they always have nuts in them making it difficult for me to eat.

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  3. Yummm! We love all kinds of bars here too!!

    Can't wait to try this! Thank you. For sharing! :)

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  4. These look really good! =0)
    ~Kim
    http://2justByou.blogspot.com

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  5. Awesome! My husband can't have nuts and we have a hard time finding granola without them, so this is perfect. (And you're right, it's easy!)

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  6. Um.... Yum! Nom Nom. I'm going to try this for road trips and hiking. So delicious looking. Do you mind if I share your post on my blog and site you? I just love your blog! Let me know....

    xo

    http://www.nothingbutapigeon.blogspot.com/

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  7. Thanks for sharing this! I've been wanting an oatmeal chocolate chip bar but refrained from buying the store bought variety! I used peanut butter (Laura Scudders natural, crunchy), added more oatmeal since I didn't want all the dried fruit in this particular batch, one very large banana (all I had :-) , some extra chopped dry roasted unsalted peanuts and chocolate chips. I only baked it for 20 minutes in a regular loaf pan. Yum!! The chocolate chips did kind of melt because the mixture was too warm, so I'd let it cool off a little next time. And maybe use the mini variety but, again, didn't have those on hand.

    It was a lovely snack with my tea! I will be tinkering with these some more!

    Along the lines of clean eating, I've been reading a book called Eat & Run by Scott Jurek, a vegan ultramarathoner. I can highly recommend his Lentil Mushroom burgers (http://scottjurek.com/eatandrun/recipes/) and Minnesota chili (http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/eating/recipes/soups/chili_winter_minnesota.html. Even my husband, quite the carnivore, agreed they were good and had seconds! Enjoy!

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