homemade granola bars

the title makes me think i should dig out this old pic…

i’m really not that crunchy :)

as for the granola bars…sometimes, when i finally try something new (a recipe, a technique or project), i wonder why i didn’t do it sooner. i guess as with anything new, there’s a certain amount of intimidation. the intimidation i feel probably stems mostly from the unknown. the unknown can be dark and scary, right? knowledge is light, and all of that. why yes, i will get all existential about granola bars.

i remember when i was learning to sew, i would go to great lengths to avoid sewing zippers. then one day, something in my universe aligned and i decided to go for it. it wasn’t perfect, that first zipper. but really, it wasn’t so bad. and it only got easier from there. why all the fuss beforehand? prior to that, i think it was the buttonhole that gave me trepidation. i mean really, i think of all the projects where i used velcro instead! not that there’s anything wrong with velcro, but there’s a certain elegance that comes with a tidy button hole, or a neatly hidden zipper. (and really, enough with the exposed zipper trend already. we get it.)

my point is, i felt the same about making granola bars. i liked the idea of homemade granola bars, and my kids certainly love granola bars. but something kept me from making them. it may have been that hesitation towards the unknown. but it may well have just been exhaustion and sleep deprivation that comes with having very little ones. you know, hierarchy of needs: sanity before homemade granola bars.

but they are not so very little anymore, and i guess the cloud is lifting a little. anyway, i made some granola bars and, no surprise… they were quite simple to make. if you’ve made them before, you’ll likely agree — and may possibly be wondering how i could ramble on for three paragraphs before i reached that conclusion.

i browsed through quite a number of recipes. here’s what i learned, and how i made mine.

the basics

there are two main components of a granola bar…

1. the stuff to make up the bulk of the bar (the granola, the nuts and whatever other goodies you want in there. chocolate chips, dried fruit, etc.)

2. the stuff to hold it all together (a bit of flour, honey/agave nectar/maple syrup for sticky sweetness, and a lightly beaten egg)

that’s it!

that’s it!

my favourite kind of recipe is one where i can just wing it and i don’t have to be too fussy about measurements. kind of like a good soup, each time you can put in whatever you’ve got on hand, and each time, it hits the spot.  here’s roughly how i made mine…

ingredients:

(my optional ingredients are in blueyou can use or substitute whatever you wish)

  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup granola
  • 2 tbsp each of ground flax seed and hemp seeds, for extra protein and fibre
  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • a handful of dried fruit (i used blueberries, raisins and apricots)
  • a handful of nuts or seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds and walnuts; you could use trail mix that has fruit and nuts already mixed together.)
  • leftover dark chocolate chips (i think there was about 20 in the bottom of the bag)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (enough to dust all the ingredients above, see photo below)
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • enough honey and maple syrup to just cover the mixture completely (i used less than 1 cup total but the amount will depend on how much of the dry ingredients you add)

directions:

  1. preheat oven to 325.
  2. grease an 8×8 square baking dish, or, line with foil and grease the foil. i used foil because i wasn’t sure how easily it would come out of my glass baking dish.
  3. mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. add the egg and honey (and syrup, or whatever liquid you’re using).
  5. mix until everything is covered and starting to stick together.
  6. pour the mixture into the baking dish, pressing with the back of a spoon to fill the edges and air space between the ingredients.
  7. bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. i took it out when the edges were just beginning to brown.
  8. turn upside down onto a cooling rack (remove foil if used) and let cool.
  9. cut into pieces. these are pretty energy dense, so i cut the square 6 by 4 to give 24 small bars.
  10. store in an airtight container, or wrap them up individually. or take a photo of them for your blog while you sneak a piece or two. you know, whatever :)

way simpler than sewing a zipper.

my bars turned out a little bit crumbly, but i found that they were more “set” by the second day. i’ll be making them again. i’m thinking they’ll be a good food to take along camping too.

do you make your own granola bars? if you do things differently, or have a twist on the ingredients, let me know.

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16 Responses to homemade granola bars

  1. Julie says:

    Wow! This does look so easy… and yummy! I like recipes using whatever I already have in my pantry. Will try making this next weekend. I only I might be missing is the granola part… Thanks!

  2. tara says:

    must. make. these!!!

  3. mary ann says:

    I actually do not use granola in mine! I find that store bought granola is too sweet for my taste, and my own granola is just too rarely made to be used in bars. I just use oats and whatever grains I have around. My twist is that I like bars made with nut butter to replace the egg or oil… but instead of nut butter I use pumpkin seed butter so they are good for school. Pumpkin seed butter can be purchased, or you can just grind up your own seeds (very inexpensive from Costco…) in a food processor.

    • imadeitso says:

      hi mary ann.. you read my mind. i was thinking of how i could make these school-friendly (nut free). thanks for the ideas!

    • imadeitso says:

      also, when grinding your seeds, do you add anything to it or does it blend well enough on its own?

      • mary ann says:

        No! They just emulsify on their own. I usually use roasted seeds. However, if the nut butter is intended for use in a sandwich, it can be a little sticky and hard to swallow efficiently – if that is the case I will add a little butter to the food processor just to make it a little easier to go down… I imagine a teeny splash of oil would have the same effect.

  4. becclebee says:

    these sound lovely.I have always meant to make some muesli bars, but have definitely been too intimidated (and don’t get me started about zippers!). I’ll store your recipe away for a rainy day!

  5. Julie says:

    I got all of my missing ingredients… now just waiting for the “perfect” time (like, when it’s not too crazy!) to make them… can’t wait… bought a handful of dried blueberries, never tried them before. Can’t wait!

  6. Julie says:

    Finally, finally, finally got around to making these yesterday!! WOOT WOOT!!! They are awesome!!! Next time will add more chocolate chips because I am such a chocolate lover. These are soooooooooooo good! And really easy to make and adapt to whatever you have! I put in chia seeds. Mmmmmmmmmm! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  7. imadeitso says:

    that’s great julie! thanks for letting me know.

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