I have been wanting to make my own granola bars for some time now. I don't like buying boxes of food with a multitude ingredients I can't pronounce and sugar content that makes me wince. Granola bars, as we know them, are glorified candy bars, in my humble opinion. Yet, what is the easiest thing to stick into that sack lunch I make for my oldest, my husband and myself? Yep, you got it and so I continue this cycle and feel horrible everytime!!! Enough already!! I want to feel good about what I'm putting into my kid's bodies and my own!
A few weeks ago while at my friend Amy's, I tried her first attempt at homemade granola bars and they were delicious. We both talked about wanting a recipe that was more chewy than crunchy, which equals far less mess with kids (or adults) around. I came across this chewy looking granola bar on the blog "Can you stay for dinner?" I added a few things and tweaked a few others (I am me after all) and my boys helped me put this recipe together in their first of "Mama's summer cooking classes". It was easy enough for my 5 and 8 year old to follow (with some help from Mom) and so incredibly tasty and CHEWY!!! These bars BEND folks!! So if you are looking for a healthy & tasty alternative to snack bars full of high fructose corn syrup, processed grains and sugars galore look no further, this is your bar! With oats, nuts, wheat bran, dried fruit and honey, you just can't go wrong!
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup sliced or ground nuts (your favorite - I used almonds)
1/4 cup wheat bran
1 cup dried fruit (I used cherries & craisins)
3 Tbsp. sesame seeds
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup honey
1 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger added to own desired tastes (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9X13 pan with foil and spray foil with oil or cooking spray.
Spread oats over large baking sheet and toast for 10-15 minutes.
After oats toast, reduce temperature to 300 degrees.
Pour toasted oats into a large bowl. Mix in nuts, wheat bran, dried fruit and sesame seeds.
Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Add honey, brown sugar, vanilla, salt and spices (if desired).
When butter mixture boils, remove from heat and pour over oat mixture.
Mix well and pour into prepared 9X13 pan.
Wet your hands and press mixture into pan evenly.
Bake at 300 for 25 minutes (until top is golden).
Allow bars to cool for at least 2 hours before cutting. I turned them over on a cutting board and peeled off the foil then cut into desired size.
Click here for printable recipe.