While Blogger was down yesterday, F&B and I headed to the kitchen to do a wee bit of baking and ended up making homemade granola bars. I rave about these on my bento blog all the time, but have never shared them here.
These might be the best granola bar recipe I've tried. They don't contain peanut butter at all (yay, Faith hates PB) and there is no added sugar, they are sweetened with honey and whatever filler you choose to use. We opted for dried apricots and chocolate chips this time. In the past, we've used dried apples and cinnamon, dried blueberries and strawberries, dried cherries and chocolate chips, probably some other combos I can't think of.
Homemade Granola Bars:
3 1/4 cups rolled Oats (or combination of oats and other whole grains)
3/4 cups Whole Wheat flour (or all-purpose)
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 T. Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
1/2 cup honey, at least
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups "Stuff" (I used about a cup or so of chopped dried apricots and a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips)
Preheat oven to 325.
In a large mixing bowl combine oats, flour, baking soda, and any spices you want to use.
In a separate bowl, combine vanilla, oil, and honey.
Pour wet mix into dry and stir to combine.
Stir in the "stuff" you want to use.
Spray an edged cookie sheet or pan with cooking spray and press VERY firmly into cookie sheet. (I used a 7x11 pan that was perfect for this).
Bake at 325 for 18-20 minutes until top is turning golden brown.
Remove from oven and firmly press down bars again with a spatula or similar, and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
Cut into bars--they are hard to cut if you allow it to completely cool.
Allow to finish cooling completely before removing from pan.
1. Press the bars firmly down in the pan with the flat edge of a spatula before baking. Do this again after baking, and once more before you cut it. If they aren't packed down, they will crumble.
2. Regarding the honey, start with the 1/2 cup. If the mixture seems too crumbly, keep adding honey by the teaspoon. The amount needed seems to depend on the fillings. The chocolate chips melt a bit, which seems to require less honey, whereas the apple-cinnamon ones seemed to require more, based on the dryness of the cinnamon.