Crunchy Granola Bars

I admit, I went through a “phase” where I pretty much lived on granola bars.  I loved granola bars.  There were quick, easy, and somewhat low in calories so when I was in the “calorie-counting” trap, a “less than 150 calorie snack” was mega-important.  If I was running out the door to go grocery shopping, pick up the kids, run to the office, I grabbed a granola bar.  Being a busy mom, I didn’t take time to eat a real meal.  I rarely sat the dining room table to eat lunch.  My husband constantly teased me for not taking time to eat a real meal at lunch time.  Food to me was merely a necessity (not a pleasure) and if I could get it in the form of a individually wrapped, organic granola bar – rock on!  However, in our transition to a whole foods based lifestyle, gone were the boxed, individually wrapped bars of convenience.  Even the organic granola bars had too much sugar and questionable ingredients.  I quickly learned that just because it said “organic” on the box, it didn’t get a free pass into my stomach.  I have learned to think ahead and plan quick meals, even on the go (I usually grab an apple when really pressed for time) and have weaned myself off of granola bars all together.  However, my husband misses them too.  He likes crunchy granola bars.  I like to make him happy so I made it a priority to find a recipe that would create healthy, low sugar granola bars the he can enjoy with his lunch or as a quick snack.  My mom sent me a recipe recently that I thought looked really promising.  Just a few tweaks and I knew I would have a winner.  I have made these twice.  The first time I baked them too long and they were really crunchy and falling apart so I reduced the baking time the second time around.  The second batch turned out better – less crumbly (but not perfect.)  I don’t mind a little crumbliness.  After cutting up the cooled bars, I scooped up the leftover crumbs, put them in little bowls and gave them to my sons to snack on.  If you are looking for granola bars sans crumbs, these may not be the right ones for you.  If you don’t want crumbs, look for a chewy granola bar recipe which would probably be a better fit.  As you can see in my picture below, I was able to get nice squares cut despite the crumbliness.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup flour (I used spelt but you could try whole wheat)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (I used walnuts & almonds)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup butter; melted
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil; melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Melt honey, butter, and coconut oil on stove over low heat while combining all remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mixing well.  Once honey, butter and oil are melted, pour over dry ingredients and stir well.  Butter 9×13 pan and pour mixture into it and press down firmly with spatula.  By pressing down, you will help prevent it from being too crumbly.  Bake for 30-32 minutes.  I baked mine for 31 minutes.  The edges should begin to brown but not overly.  If over baked, it will be really, really crumbly (but will still taste good!)

One thing to note is that you can modify this recipe very easily.  You could change out the raisins for shredded coconut or dried cranberries.  You could throw in some sunflower seeds or chia seeds.  Very, very customizable.  Have fun with it and let me know your favorite combination!

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4 Responses to Crunchy Granola Bars

  1. Wendy says:

    Just tried these out and had a couple of questions… Do you think altitude has any affect on these? I baked them for a full 31 minutes, but I checked on them about 20 min in and it was already brown on the sides, but I wasn’t sure if it was so brown because of being done already or if it was from the chocolate chips kinda melting when I mixed them in. So I was wondering if the baking times may vary because of altitude possibly? Also do you cut them before or after they are cool? I tried cutting them while still fairly warm and they are just crumbling… they taste AMAZING, but are crumbly (which it could be because of over baking though too). Does it matter when you cut them? Just didn’t see when to cut in the directions. Thanks for your help and all of your amazing recipes, they are all so so good! 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment! I generally do cook them the entire 28-30 minutes. They will be soft and crumbly until they cool. Even after they cool they will be a bit crumbly but still tasty!!! If you use all coconut oil rather than butter/coconut oil mix, they are less crumbly. I honestly don’t know about the altitude, I am VERY amateur! I am glad you like them!

  2. Stacey says:

    We just made these bars and they came out okay. My issue is they tasted dry. They were not crumbly or too crunchy. They hade a nice chewy bar type bite. But after the bite, it tasted somewhat like the oats weren’t coated enough and I was eating raw oats. I am going to try this again with 1/4 cup more honey. What do you think?

    • Hmm…it wouldn’t hurt to increase the honey or even the coconut oil or butter. Let me know if any of your changes yield better results. I can then update the blog to offer alternatives cooking suggestions if others run into the same problems. Thanks for the comment!

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