I discovered these granola bars were perfect for morning munching when you don’t have a free minute to eat a bowl of cereal. I brought a batch to one of my best friends who recently had a baby boy. Originally roommates in Seminary, we moved to the same neighborhood after getting married, took a birth class together, we even delivered our babies three weeks apart. Our boys have been friends since Utero. On the way to the bris, I told A.J. he was going to meet his new best friend for life. These bars are the ultimate freezer friendly food if stored in individual baggies, and are a great way to experiment with different flavors. I combined pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, chocolate chips and coconut and couldn’t be happier. Or try chopped dates, roasted almonds, walnuts, coconut and white chocolate chips for a different but outstanding taste.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
In the original recipe, Deb uses oat flour, and additional sweeteners. I thought the bars a bit sweet at first, so I pared it down and switched oat for whole wheat flour- it makes for a dense and healthy bar. This recipe makes enough bars for a weeks worth of breakfast. Doubled and baked in a 9×13 inch pan, you’ll have enough to give away!
*I went back and tried this recipe again, and switched it up. I thought it could have been sweeter and more flavorful. I have updated the recipe as such.
1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 to 3 cups combination of dried fruits, nuts, chocolate chips, coconut, etc.
1/3 cup peanut butter (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
6 tablespoons vegetable oil, or melted butter if you dare
1/4 cup honey, maple syrup or corn syrup
3 tablespoons water
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C). Line an 8×8 inch pan with a big piece of foil or parchment paper, pressing it down into the pan, with a bit hanging over the sides. Grease the foil or paper lightly with cooking spray or a bit of oil. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients including any combination of dried fruits, nuts, and other goodies. In a small bowl, combine wet ingredients and whisk to combine. Stir wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, adding a tablespoon or so of water if it still seems dry. Make sure that all of the granola is coated completely. Pour the granola mixture into your prepared pan and pack it down well. It helps to grease or wet your hands for this part, or to lay a piece of plastic wrap over the granola (Don’t forget to remove the plastic before baking!). You want to make sure the granola is packed well, as this will help the bars hold together. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until lightly browned on the top. Cool pan completely on a wire rack before cutting. You can stick them in the freezer or refrigerator to speed up the cooling process if you just can’t wait. But make sure the bars are cool, or else they will crumble to little itty bits. These keep well in an airtight container at room temperature, and freeze beautifully.