Monday, February 28, 2011

Homemade granola bars

I've been trying for months to come up with a successful homemade granola bar recipe. Granola bars seem to make great snacks, because they're packed with energy, tote along easily in a purse or bag, and are oh-so-tasty.

I seem to run into one of two issues when making homemade granola bars:
  1. Granola bars are too mushy and don't hold their shape after being cut, turning into pseudo-cookie crumbs
  2. Granola bars are too crispy and crumble when cut, turning into plain old granola (not the worst problem to have)
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your health and taste preferences, the solution to my problem was to add more peanut butter and honey to the recipe. The end result was a granola bar that held its shape when cut, but had an overall higher fat and sugar content. Although this makes them a little less nutritious, using all natural peanut butter, raw honey, and agave nectar might justify making these for yourself. The recipe is below. You can substitute different sweeteners, such as maple syrup or brown sugar, and different granola-type ingredients, such as other seeds, nuts, and dried fruit.

Oats and Honey Granola Bars
2 1/2 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking or instant)
2 1/2 cups puffed brown rice cereal
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup peanuts (honey roasted peanuts are great for this recipe)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup agave nectar
2 Tbsp. water (or more, if needed)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9"x13" baking pan and set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl, combine oats, cereal, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and raisins.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat the peanut butter, honey, agave nectar, and water over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until the ingredients melt together. Add more water if the mixture looks too thick.
  4. Pour liquid mixture into the oat mixture and stir well. Spread into the baking pan and bake for about 20 minutes. 
  5. Allow granola bars to cool completely before cutting. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

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