Granola bars are often the perfect snack in between workouts or during the middle of the day when you’re feeling like a light snack to tie you over between meals. But if you’ve ever been to the grocery store to pick up a small box of somewhat healthy granola bars you’ve probably been overcome with sticker shock. Now, if you’re like me, in addition to making my own granola bars from home I also pick up a box or two online at wholesale prices so that when I don’t have time to whip some up I’ll have a supply of tasty bars ready for me in the pantry.
In this article I’m going to hopefully walk you through a fairly simple recipe to help you make your own home made granola bars. You can of course make whatever type of bar you’d like, but the ones we’re going to be making today are going to be of the cranberry variety.
Obviously, first of all you’re going to need to pick up some ingredients. Chances are if you’re any type of regular baker or have any interest in cooking, you probably have most of these ingredients already. I thought about including links to places where you could pick up some of these ingredients in bulk online, but compared to store prices, you probably wouldn’t be saving much and you’d end up with a few pounds of things like rolled oats or chocolate chips which would probably just end up going stale in your cupboard anyway.
- 4.5 cups of rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2/3 cups of butter
- 1 cup of honey
- 1/3 cup of brown sugar
- ½ cup of chopped almonds
- 2 cups of chocolate chips
- 1 cup of flour
- A few drops of vanilla extract
Step by Step
Now comes the fun part: the baking. If you don’t already have one out and ready, you’re going to need a cake pan that measures at least 12” by 12.” You can get by with a cookie sheet or thinner pan if you don’t have a deeper baking pan, but your granola bars will turn out much thinner and may not be the chewy and thick kind you’re used to. Who knows, maybe it’s something to experiment with?
1. Step one in any recipe is to ensure that the oven is preheated for the baking process. You’re going to want to heat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about 165 Celsius if you’re baking overseas.
2. Take the baking pan you’re going to be using and with something like Pam or butter, lightly grease the pan so that the granola bars don’t stick to the bottom. (They will stick!)
3. Next, you’re going to want to grab a pretty big bowl from your cupboard and mix together the oats, flour, melted butter, baking soda, honey, brown sugar, and the few drops of vanilla.
4. Once all of that has been mixed together thoroughly, it’s time to mix in the almonds, chocolate chips, and anything else you’d like to include in your bars. I like to throw in a handful of cranberries from time to time to make the bars a bit different each time I make them, but obviously the choice is up to you. Another popular choice is the addition of raisins. While I don’t like raisins myself, they’re easy enough to stir in and spread throughout the mix.
5. Once you’ve gotten your mixture ready to go, scoop it all into the baking pan and push it down so that it’s packed in fairly tightly. This prevents bubbling or air from getting inside the bars which causes uneven baking.
6. Bake on the middle shelf of your oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until the bars begin to brown.
7. Before you cut up the bars to eat them, let everything cool on in the pan for about 15 minutes before you take a knife to them.
8. Chop them up into appropriate sized granola bars and place them out for eating or get ready to wrap them up for later use.
In regards to wrapping, I like to use a sturdy saran wrap that lets me put the bars in the fridge or pantry for a week or so at a time so that they’re kept fresh and I always have granola bars ready to eat. You can alternatively put them in small Ziploc bags to take them with you to work or to put them in the freezer to keep them for longer.
As I said before, you probably don’t always have time to make your own granola bars from scratch. Having a supply of premade ones in your pantry can never hurt when you’re in a hurry and want a quick snack between meals. My favorite brand by far is Nature Valley. Not only are they crunchy and the right balance of sweet and healthy, they also come in many different variety flavor boxes that make it easy for me to change up what type of bar I’m eating each morning.
Nature Valley Variety Pack: This particular pack comes with the popular oats and honey variety of their bars as well as peanut butter and cinnamon flavors. Each bar is an excellent source of whole grains in your diet. Eating whole grains has been proven to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases. Nature Valley bars obviously come in a wide array of flavors, but oats and honey and cinnamon are by far their most popular.