Granola Bars

in Breakfast, Snacks

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For a long time I’ve had a love-hate relationship with granola bars. My idea of the perfect granola bar is something chewy, delicious, not too sweet, and that serves as a satisfying snack. I always want to like the store-bought ones, but time and again they disappoint me.

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Every few months I’ll be in a grocery store and will wander past a large display of some new variety of granola bars and will then somehow convince myself that these are the bars I have been looking for all my life. Ten minutes later, I’m in the checkout line with a basket filled with granola bars, only to get home and discover that these are no different than any other bar I’ve ever had. They’re  either bland or too sweet and I still feel hungry after eating 5 of them.

Almonds Fruit
Oatmeal Granola4 So now, I’ve taken matters into my own hands. I found this recipe from the lovely Ina Garten (I love her SO MUCH) and after making a few of my own adjustments I am pleased to announce that these are, in fact, the granola bars that I’ve always dreamed of. They’re chewy, with just a hint of sweetness, and are a satisfying snack that neither I, nor you, have to feel guilty about.

Granola Bars

Adapted from Ina Garten

Print this recipe!

I changed the original recipe quite a bit. I was worried about it being too sweet and took out the brown sugar altogether, and am definitely glad that I did. I was also worried after reading some reviews that the butter would make the bars greasy, so I cut the amount down from 3 tablespoons to 1. I couldn’t find wheat germ in the store so I substituted flaxseed meal, but either option would work. My favorite dried fruits are apricots and cranberries, but you can use anything that you like or have on hand.

Also – not a fan of bars? Just break this up into pieces and you can eat it as your morning breakfast cereal.

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
1/2 cup flaxseed meal
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups chopped dried fruit

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 by 12-inch baking sheet and line it with greased parchment paper, or a Silpat.

Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer to a large bowl and add in flaxseed meal. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.
Combine the butter, honey, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dried fruit and stir the mixture together.

Pour the mixture onto the baking sheet. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Allow to cool for at least 2-3 hours and then cut into squares.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Mel November 11, 2009 at 8:57 pm

I’ve been looking for a good granola recipe- and I trust you guys! If I hate coconut will this recipe turn me off? Can it be omitted/substituted out? Any other fruits you’d recommend?

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Caroline November 11, 2009 at 9:06 pm

The coconut flavor really isn’t that noticeable, so you might want to give it a try. However, if you’re really turned off by the idea, I would just substitute it with another cup of oatmeal.

As for the fruit, any dried fruit should work, so use whatever you like best. I’ve thought about trying it with dried apples or mango, but let me know what you come up with!

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Tere Payne November 11, 2009 at 10:17 pm

Had to laugh at your store-bought granola bar journey. Been on that one myself. These look and sound delicious.

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Erin January 7, 2011 at 6:03 am

I’ve been on the hunt for a good soft granola bar recipe. If these ended your hunt, than hopefully it’ll do the same for me, thank you! I also like the addition of flaxseed. They sound delicious and I cannot wait to try them out myself.

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Viki Herring March 15, 2012 at 6:12 pm

This is too funny! Ina is my absolute favorite FN chef but you’re right, it was too sweet and buttery. I made the axact same changes you made and I also added 1/2 cup of pepitas.

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