There is a wide range of granola bars that you can find at the supermarket, and even though the nutrition facts are there- you probably don’t recognize the majority of ingredients. So why not avoid the confusion of “which has more fiber” and which has “less sugar” and use your resources at home to make your own granola bars.
I used Ina Garten’s Homemade Granola Bars Recipe– and made a few changes and additions to make it my own.
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal 1 pack of Instant Oatmeal (for more body/replace coconut)
1 cup sliced almonds + 1/2 cup of chopped Pecans
1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed – I do not like Coconut
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots +1/2 Cup of dried Cherries
1/3 cup dried cranberries + 1/4 cup of dried blueberries
1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Use cooking spray or butter an 8 by 12 inch baking pan and line it with parchment paper (this is to prevent the granola from not sticking or breaking when its ready to be removed)
2.) Toss Oatmeal, Instant oatmeal, Almonds and Pecans on a baking sheet for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Because I do not like coconut I needed something else to help bind the ingredients together. Quick cooking oats are a lot more muddier than old-fashioned which will help everything congeal together. As for the pecans? I thought it would add a nice touch and a contrast in texture.
3.)Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ. Do not forget to reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
4.) Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir till all the butter is melted. Then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture.
In Ina’s recipe you stir only after adding the dried fruit. Because I was worried not all the oatmeal would be saturated by the honey mix I folded the honey mix before and after adding the dried fruit.
This is the second time making these granola bars. The first time I followed the recipe to a T and personally thought the amount of dried fruit made it too sweet. Adding the nuts (for more salt) and less dried fruit as well as tart dried fruit (like the cherries) balances the sweetness.
5.) Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
you can either spray your fingers with cooking spray or press down the oatmeal batter with a spatula. It is important that it is spread out evenly.
6.) Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until light golden brown.
7.) Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours. The longer you let it cool less it will fall apart when you cut it. For the first 3 hours I let it cool at room temperature and then moved it to a cooler area (like porch or vestabule).
8.) One it has cooled flip the pan over and on to a cutting board. This will make it a lot easier to cut. Remove the wax paper.
9.) Take a sharp butcher knife and begin to cut vertically. You want to cut them fairly big so they don’t fall apart. Once you have divided the batch in to four equal vertical parts proceed to divide them in to thirds. One batch should yield: 12