Granola bars are a staple food around our house. They’re great for a quick breakfast on the go or an afternoon snack. For a couple of years, I ate only “natural” granola bars from places like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Then one day, I decided to actually read the labels. I’d always checked the labels for things like nuts or other foods that are migraine triggers for me, but I’d never looked at things like sugar and preservatives. Man, was I surprised how much sugar were in those bars! I was eating them everyday, sometimes more than once! I decided to find a granola bar recipe that I could make at home.
I wanted a recipe that would be filling and have some protein in it, but that didn’t have too much sweetener and would be pretty easy to make. I found a nut butter-based granola bar recipe that fit the bill. It took me a few tries to hone the recipe to my tastes and to the specific ingredients I was using (not all nut butters are created equally, for example). So here is my basic recipe for granola bars. It’s a very adaptable recipe, so you can change it to fit your needs and preferences.
I make these every week or two. If you’ve got more than one or two people eating these, you might want to double the recipe.
Basic Granola Bar Recipe (adapted from Savoring the Thyme http://www.savoringthethyme.com/2011/01/quick-and-easy-peanut-butter-granola-bars-via-how-sweet-it-is/)
3.5 cups oats (I like to use 2.5 cups rolled oats and 1 cup quick oats because I think it helps the bars stick together better)
1 – 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
½ cup nuts or seeds (I like to use unsalted, sprouted sunflower seeds)
½ – ¾ cup honey
1 cup nut butter (I use unsalted, ground almond butter from Whole Foods)
Pinch of kosher salt
Dried fruit (I usually use dried cranberries and cherries)
Chopped chocolate (if you can eat it)
Preheat oven to 350.
In a large bowl, mix oats, chia seeds and ½ cup nuts or seeds. Add honey and mix well to combine (be sure to coat all the oats in honey). Add ½ cup nut butter and mix until moistened. Fold your add ins into the oat mixture (start with a little bit and increase to taste). Don’t be afraid to work them in with your hands. Check how sticky your dough is by forming a small ball. If it sticks together well, then you are ready to pan it. If it feels too crumbly, you’ll want to add more honey and nut butter, about a tablespoon at a time until moist.
Press granola mixture in a greased 9 x 13 baking dish using a piece of waxed paper. The granola should be tightly packed for better bars. Bake for 20 – 22 minutes or until golden around the edges. Let cool completely before cutting. Cut into small squares or bars and store in an airtight container for 1 – 2 weeks.
Don’t throw away any crumbled parts of the granola bar from the pan or storage container – this makes great granola to put on plain yogurt or to eat with milk!
Jocelyn is a freelance theater director in Columbus, Ohio. She loves cooking real food vegetarian meals for friends and family. She is married to Mark, who makes the best homemade pies and corn tortillas around. When she isn’t at the theater, she can be found working part-time in a neighborhood bakery, working in her container garden, preserving fruits and veggies, going for walks, reading, or watching movies with Mark.