Everybody loves a soft chewy granola bar. I practically existed on them during my teenage years. Petite and portable, they make the perfect snack. Reasonably healthy as well. And that was the boxed (sat on a shelf for who knows how long) variety. When you make your own (as you will right away, I’m convinced) they are even better!
Have you ever taken a look under the flap of your store bought granola bar? Ever encountered that extensive list of unrecognizable ingredients? No longer. Who needs preservatives anyway when you’ve got a freezer (should be my motto)! Stored in a freezer safe container (individually wrapped even), they’ll last… well, longer than it’ll take you to eat them. Pop one out of the icebox, shove it in your purse (or pocket, guys), and by the time you’re feeling famished, your granola bar will be ready for snacking.
The best part of this recipe is that one size fits all! All tastes and types and personalities. For me, it’ll be a dried fruit (blueberries being my favorite) and a nut. My husband, who won’t go near a raisin or fleck of coconut, prefers his specked with chocolate chips (make it dark and you’re still reaping health benefits!). Things could get a little tricky when you start adding liquid or oily ingredients (applesauce, peanut butter)- you might have to play with the written ratios. Good luck! My only advice: don’t overcook them or they won’t stay soft and chewy, and that’s the point!
2 cups rolled oats
1/4-1/2 cup packed brown sugar or evaporated cane sugar (adjust to taste depending on what additions you use)
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (all-purpose flour can be used)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup canola oil (you could try substituting applesauce for part of the oil)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries (Craisins)
1/4 cup almonds
Other suggested additions:
dried blueberries, cherries, or other fruit
mini chocolate chips
nuts (walnuts, pecans, peanuts, cashews)
NOTE: If you are using extra wet ingredients, such as peanut butter or pumpkin, I recommend decreasing the amount of oil you use.
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Generously grease a 9×13 baking pan.
2. In a large bowl mix together oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, and dry additions. Make a well in the center and pour in the honey, egg, oil, vanilla, and any other wet additions. Mix together with hands or spatula. Press the mixture evenly into the baking pan.
3. Bake for 18-25 minutes, until the tops are golden. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then cut into bars while still warm. Store in an airtight container or the freezer.
Makes 1 9×13 pan.
(Adapted from All Recipes)