Homemade Granola Bars

Homemade Granola Bars - Yum!Our family is fueled by granola bars. In the morning the kids grab a granola bar to munch on in the car on the way to school. After school they grab a granola bar to munch on as a snack.

Since granola bars are fairly healthy I don’t mind too much, but we only buy organic granola bars so all that grabbing and munching adds up.

 

To save money I tried making homemade granola bars.

They tasted like cardboard.

No-one ate them so eventually I threw them out. So much for saving money.

 

Then my friend Nicole let me taste-test one of her homemade granola bars. One bite had me hooked! I knew Teacher and the kids would love them too so I whipped up a batch the very next night.

There are so many things I love about these homemade granola bars:

  • They taste fantastic – what other reason would you need?
  • You know exactly what’s in them – and what’s not. No high fructose or hydrogenated junk in MY granola bars!
  • You can make a gazillion different varieties of granola bars – the only limitation is your imagination.
  • They’re almost as quick to throw together as Rice Krispie Treats.

Are you ready to make some homemade granola bars?

All right, let’s get started!

 

Homemade Granola Bars – in Pictures

Homemade Granola Bars - IngredientsFirst, gather your ingredients. I recommend homemade peanut butter because it tastes the best and you know what’s in it.

Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit an 8 x 8 pan, and place the paper inside the pan.

 

Homemade Granola Bars - The DryMix oatmeal, broken pretzels and crisp rice cereal in a large bowl.

We buy brown rice cereal and it works great in the granola bars. I would have preferred whole wheat pretzels, but this is what we had so this is what I used. Pretzel sticks might have been easier to break, but it wasn’t a big deal. I was worried that our thick cut oatmeal would be too crunchy for the granola bars, but it was fine; I don’t think I would like the cheaper kind that’s more crumbs than anything.

 

Homemade Granola Bars - Wet Ingredients In a saucepan, combine honey, peanut butter, brown sugar, and butter. Sorry about the freaky brightness of the butter; it was in the sunshine and got overexposed more than my basic PhotoShop abilities can fix.

 

Homemade Granola Bars - Cook and stir until the butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar have melted and everything is combined. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for two minutes.

 

Homemade Granola Bars - Pour the cooked mixture over the oatmeal mixture and stir well to coat. Be careful – the cooked mixture is sticky and HOT, and will burn if it gets on you.

 

Homemade Granola Bars - Turn into PanDump the combined mixture into the prepared 8 x 8 pan.

 

Homemade Granola Bars - Press MixtureUsing another piece of parchment paper, lightly press the mixture towards the edges and corners, leveling it as you go.

 

Homemade Granola Bars - Sprinkle chocolate chips on top, then press the entire mixture firmly into the pan. Angel Face doesn’t like chocolate chips so I left one section “naked” for her. I’m nice like that.

I’ve learned that if you don’t press the mixture firmly enough the bars will fall apart after they’ve been cut. But you have to press quickly or the chocolate chips will melt and make a huge mess. It’s a tricky challenge…

 

Homemade Granola Bars - ChillPlace in the refrigerator to chill for about an hour.

 

Homemade Granola Bars - Cut into BarsCut into bars of somewhat equal size. It’s easier to take them out of the pan and use a butcher knife to cut them, rather than try to cut them while they’re in the pan.

I think that cutting them into 12 bars creates the perfect sized bar, but the original recipe said to cut into 10 bars.

 

Homemade Granola Bars – Official Recipe

These homemade granola bars are so quick, easy, and yummy that you may just give up store-bought granola bars for good!

Homemade Granola Bars – Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup crispy rice cereal
  • 3/4 cup chopped pretzels
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Homemade Granola Bar – Directions

  1. Place a piece of parchment paper in an 8 x 8 baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl combine oatmeal, cereal, and pretzels.
  3. In sauce pan combine the butter, brown sugar, honey, and peanut butter. Cook over medium heat until melted and bubbling, then continue to cook 2 more minutes – stirring constantly.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  5. Pour cooked mixture over dry mixture in the bowl. Stir to combine.
  6. Turn combined mixture out into the baking dish. Using an additional piece of parchment paper, press mixture down, flattening and evening it out as you to. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top and press in gently with your fingers.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cooled and set – about an hour.
  8. Cut into 10-12 bars.
  9. Keep in an airtight container for up to a week

 

Homemade Granola Bar – Variations

Now comes the fun part – variations! Once you’ve mastered the basic recipe you can make whatever variation you want!

My first batch of homemade granola bars was yummy, but a bit too sweet in my opinion. I wanted to make a batch with less fat and sugar, so for the second batch I tried using half the amount of honey and butter 1/8 cup each. They tasted great, but didn’t stay together at all. Back to the drawing board!

For my next batch of homemade granola bars I followed the basic recipe but filled the 1/4 cup measuring cup about 3/4 full In other words, a scant 1/4 cup with the brown sugar and butter. These stayed together better and had a more pronounced honey flavor, which Teacher really loved. Next time I make the basic ones I’m going to try cutting down on all of the cooked ingredients: honey, butter, brown sugar, and peanut butter. I’ll let you know how they turn out!

Then I decided to try switching out some of the ingredients, and came up with…

 

Homemade Granola Bars - My favorite granola bar is Kashi Dark Almond Mocha so I wanted to make a similar homemade granola bar. I didn’t take photos along the way, but I’m sure you can figure it out without pictures. You’re smart like that.

For homemade Dark Almond Mocha granola bars I added about 1/2 cup roasted almonds to the oatmeal mixture in the bowl, used a white chocolate mocha almond butter instead of peanut butter, and tossed about 1/8 cup dark chocolate chips into the saucepan. At the end I sprinkled the bars with dark chocolate chips.

How’d they turn out?

Very yummy, but not as mocha-y as I was hoping.

Next time I’m going to put more chocolate chips into the brown sugar mixture, and something to make it more coffee-y – maybe instant espresso powder.

 

Then I want to try cranberry/white chocolate chip bars.

And chocolate chip/almond/coconut.

And peanut butter chip. If I ever find peanut butter chips without hydrogenated oil…

And…

 

What kind of homemade granola bars would YOU like to make?

Amy Sue

Adapted from The Best Blog Recipes.

4 Comments

  1. I do roll them in the pan with a pastry roller then add the chocolate chips and do another roll over the top. I also sprinkle a little of whatever I have added in on the top so that the kids can identify what kind they are (caramel bits, cranberries, PB chip, almond/coconut etc…. We cut ours into 14. Also I have doubled them and put them into a 9×13 pan.

    • Nicole,

      Thanks – I couldn’t remember how many you cut yours into but mine seemed too big. I need to get a pastry roller; my hands get tired from all that pressing so mine end up falling apart more than yours. Do your chocolate chips melt while you’re pressing them, or do you let them cool before putting the chocolate chips on?

      How many do you cut the 9 x 13 pan into?

      The only down-side to these granola bars is that the kids like them so much we’re going through them faster than the store-bought ones! I’ve had to put a one-bar-per-day limit on them, LOL!

      Thanks for taking time to comment,
      ~Amy Sue

  2. Is there an ingredient list with amounts?? These look heavenly!!!

    • Krystal,

      They ARE heavenly! I edited the post to add the recipe. I meant to include it, but ended up working on the post here and there instead of all at once like I usually do, so I totally spaced out on the recipe. Lesson learned!

      Let me know what you think of them when you try them, and if you try any variations!

      Thanks for asking,
      ~Amy Sue

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