Homemade Granola Bars

Homemade Granola BarsI thought that maybe we could continue our chat about lunch from last week. One of my other food goals for this year is to increase the number of things that I make instead of buy. When I stumbled across a recipe for homemade granola bars I wanted to give it a try.

So, it was Saturday night and I decided to sit down and whip up a batch of granola bars for you. Wait, what? Don’t you do your baking on Saturday night after the kids are in bed? Notice the waning light in my photographs? I’d even been invited to a party at a condo of a younger friend of mine and none of the other people going to that party had kids. There would have been all kinds of crazy dancing, and did I mention – no kids! Instead, I opted to stay home and bake granola bars. Ok.. well, I was also recovering from a bit of the flu.

Homemade Granola BarsThe recipe I used is from Smitten Kitchen, one of my online favorites, and this particular granola bar recipe came highly recommended. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint. Eating these almost makes up for missing the party.

The recipe has a lot of flexibility in it, as you can see. I used a mixture of roasted cashews, dried cherries, dried cranberries, and roasted sunflower seeds for the dried fruits and nuts. I used about 2 1/2 cups at a ratio of about 0.5 parts sunflower seeds, 1 part dried cherries, 1 part dried cranberries, and 2 parts cashews. I used the peanut butter in mine but if you want your kids to take them to school, you should substitute apple butter or some other school-safe butter. I omitted the vanilla and used only honey in the optional sweeteners.

Homemade Granola BarsWhen I eat store-bought granola bars, I typically find them way too sweet. I used the lowest recommended amount of sugar (1/2 cup) but I think I may cut back on the liquid sweeteners next time too, the dried fruits are already sweet enough for me.

The only other thing I should comment on is the cooking time. It was Saturday night, remember? Kids were in bed. I put the bars in the oven, set the timer for 32 minutes (recommendation is 30-40 and I’m a really good guesser about my oven). Now Smitten Kitchen suggests not being afraid to let the bars get a little bit of colour. But, you see, I went upstairs to watch the latest episode of Breaking Bad with my hubby and it was some time later when we realized that there was a very faint beeping noise coming from .. somewhere. Some time after that it occurred to us that the timer for the granola bars is what was beeping. Sheesh! So, umm, yeah. They’re a little dark. Turns out that this really isn’t a bad thing but it turns out that a little bit dark just means a deep caramel flavour and a little extra crunch. Hubby requests that I still to the prescribed baking time for our next attempt, though.
Alright, just one last comment. Folks were noticing that these bars are really crumbly. I’ll second (100th?) that comment as well. I put the bars in the fridge before I cut them, but you can see in that last photo that there was still some crumbling. I did not worry about the crumbling. I put the granola bits on my ice cream later in the week. Hubby and the girls aren’t allowed to eat the granola bars in the living room, however.
Ok. So try them. They’re so yummy and chewy and satisfying. The next batch I make might be nut free so that I can share them with our littlest peanut. Then, go put them in your kids’ lunch boxes. Hopefully, they’ll enjoy them as much as we do. And hopefully they won’t complain, like my pre-schooler did, that they don’t come with wrappers.

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8 thoughts on “Homemade Granola Bars”

  1. I'm going to have to give this recipe a try – I seem to have an obsession with always trying a new granola bar recipe! I too have the same goal as you – to make more snacks! We made 3 batches of muffins and froze them for school lunches during the week before school!

  2. Here's a question for ya, Kate….

    The media keeps discussing how bad high fructose corn syrup is for us. Do you know if the corn syrup you buy in the store to bake with is the “high fructose” kind or are there different kinds of corn syrups? I hope the answer is that the corn syrup in the store is ok to use b/c it is called for in so many recipes!

  3. @Multi-Testing Mommy: Please share your granola bar recipes! This one was great but I'm open to trying others.

    Regarding high-fructose corn syrup, I reference this article about corn syrup http://www.joepastry.com/2007/corn_syrup_beelzebub_1/ and I see that most corn syrup is about 40% or so fructose and high-fructose corn syrup is around 70%. Checking the ingerdients list on the bottle of corn syrup in my cupboard, I see that glucose is listed first, with glucose-fructose listed second. Since ingredients have to be listed in order of percentage in the final product, we can conclude that there is less than 50% fructose in my bottle. So, at least the brand I buy seems to be standard and not HFCS. You can check your bottle too. I'm going to hazard a guess that most grocery store brands are the same.

  4. I've never tried making my own granola bars but the pics are so inviting I really think I just may esp as Hubby loves granola bars and would love the fact that these aren't too sweet. Thanks for sharing!!

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