Note: A Pantry Basic is anything we normally use and have in our pantries that most people buy from the store- and some (like me!) didn’t even know could be made at home! See more pantry basics here.
I’ve hesitated to post a granola bar recipe since there are a million out there. But I think I’ve tried about half of them (half a million? OK, maybe not that many, but it’s sure seemed like it!) in my quest to find one that wasn’t too sweet, used real ingredients, was easy, tasty, and didn’t fall apart. So of course you know I like to share. *smile*
Little did I know, finding a bar that didn’t fall apart ended up being a major consideration. A LOT fell apart.
I mean, if it doesn’t hold together, it’s just granola, isn’t it?
And recipes that just used more sugar to hold them together were immediately chucked (some use up to 1-1/2 cups of sweetener in a 8″ x 8″ pan!). My goal was to make bars that would be better for my family than the sugar and preservative/weird stuff bars I could buy at the store.
So after about a year (see what I mean about it seeming like half a million?) I’ve got two recipes I like and think make great granola bars while keeping to my requirements. Both would be considered “chewy” granola bars- one is a no-bake type and the other is a baked bar (baked bar recipe). I like having both of them since the baked bar is a dense, filling bar using raw oats and the no-baked bar is lighter with puffed rice and homemade granola.
Today I’m sharing the no-bake chewy bar that I made up after all my experimenting with other recipes. I usually make it in two flavors: Cranberry-Almond (my favorite) and Peanut-Butter with chocolate chips or cranberries, but as with all granola bars, the variations can be many.
Start with a large saucepan, because the bars are going to be mixed right in the saucepan after melting the honey and sugar with the peanut butter (or butter, depending on the variety) and coconut oil.
I find that using only honey is too heavy a flavor and my family doesn’t like it as much as when I add just a bit of sugar. If you’d like to use all honey, 2/3 c. total should be enough because honey is sweeter than sugar.
Add the dry ingredients- granola (yep, you can make that, too!), flax meal, and crispy puffed rice-type cereal. You know, like Rice Crispy cereal. I used a Kashi cereal called “7 Whole Grain Honey Puffs” which was a little too sweet. I’ve ordered some unsweetened crispy rice cereal from Azure Standard just for these bars.
Stir in the add-ins (here it’s cranberry and chopped peanuts), and mix thoroughly.
Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before cutting into bars.
Cut into 18 bars: cut six long rows on the 9″ side, and then 3 on the 13″ side to get long bars like store-bought ones (of course you can make them smaller or bigger as you like).
I package them individually in baggies (that we reuse, of course- just train your kids to “save your baggies!”) and keep them in an open container in the fridge for easy access. They seem to stay fresher when refrigerated (for up to a week). I usually put half in the fridge and the other half in the freezer for longer storage.
I hope you like these as well as we do!
Ultimate No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars
- 1/2 c. honey
- 1/3 c. brown sugar or Sucanat
- 3 Tb. butter (substitute 1/3 c. peanut- or other nut- butter for nut variation)
- 2 Tb. coconut oil
- 3 c. granola
- 1-1/2 c. crispy rice cereal
- 3-4 Tb. flax seed meal
- 1 c. TOTAL add-ins (1/2. c. cranberries + 1/2 c. chopped almonds= Cranberry Almond Bars; 1/2 c. peanuts + 1/3 c. chocolate chips (I think this is better than 1/2 c.) + nut butter variation = P.B. Chocolate Chip Bars; 1/2. c coconut + 1/2 c. chopped apricots= Coconut Apricot Bars.…etc.)
- Line a 13″ x 9″ pan with parchment or waxed paper (the pan can be lightly greased as well, but cutting and removing the bars won’t be as easy).
- Combine the first four ingredients in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir to combine and melt together until smooth.
- Add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly right in the saucepan.
- When everything is mixed well, scrape into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Press the mixture down firmly.
- Refrigerate 30 minutes to 1 hour before removing from the pan, cutting into bars and placing in baggies or a air tight container.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or the freezer for longer storage.
Makes 18 long bars [/recipe]