I think granola bars are the most convenient snacks for people on the go. I love that they’re sweet and chewy and high in fiber. However, I rarely buy them because the store bought granola bars are full of refined sugars and additives that make them relatively unhealthy. Luckily, they are Very simple to make at home. This is an easy, no-bake recipe that does not contain corn syrup (which you’ll find in many other recipes). It can easily be made gluten free and see below for different variations. These make great snacks for lunches, picnics, road trips, busy days, and hiking or camping trips.
Granola Bars Recipe
adapted from here. Note: If you are making gluten-free granola bars, use certified gluten-free brands of oats and use the ground flax seeds instead of the wheat germ).
2 cups oats (not instant)
1/2 cup wheat germ (or 1/2 cup ground flax seeds for gluten free)
3/4 cup shelled seeds (ie. sunflower, sesame, and/or pumpkin seeds)
scant 2/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar (or use palm sugar if you’re avoiding refined sugar, but note that the granola bars won’t hold together as nicely)
1/2 cup honey
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt (omit if seeds and nuts are already salted)
optional: 1 cup nuts (ie. almonds, cashews, peanuts, pistachios, or mixed nuts)
1/2 to 2/3 cup dried fruit (ie. raisins, craisins, or coarsely chopped apricots, figs, etc.)
- try using pistachios and dried apricots
- use white chocolate chips, walnuts and dried cranberries
- add dark chocolate chips (consider adding mini marshmallows too)
- you could dip or coat your granola bars with melted chocolate
- try experimenting with Rice Krispies cereal, butterscotch chips, shredded coconut, dried pineapples, dried papaya, dried mango, crystallized ginger, etc.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Toss together and spread out the oats, seeds, wheat germ or ground flax seeds, and nuts on a dry baking sheet and toast them in the oven until lightly browned, about 9 or 10 minutes. Toss everything halfway and do not allow it to burn. Meanwhile, lightly grease an 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Line it with enough parchment paper so that it hangs over the edge for easy lifting. Then lightly grease the top of the parchment paper and set aside. Once your dry ingredients are toasted, allow them to cool for a few minutes and then toss them together in a large, heatproof bowl. Stir in the dried fruit.
In a small sauce pot over medium heat, combine the butter, honey, sugar, vanilla, and salt and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Once the mixture starts to bubble up, pour it over your dry ingredients. Mix everything together with a rubber spatula and then add chocolate chips if using. Make sure that the liquid and the dry ingredients are well combined. Then before the mixture starts to harden, pour it into your prepared baking dish. Spread out the mixture evenly with a spatula or slightly wet hands. Then place a piece of parchment paper on top of the granola and press the granola firmly into the dish. The granola needs to be very compact or else it won’t hold its shape after you’ve cut it into bars. When the granola has completely cooled, place the granola onto a large cutting board, peel away the paper and use a large, sharp knife to cut the granola into bars. Cut the bars by firmly pressing your knife down as opposed to using a sawing motion. Store in an airtight container between sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap.