My Favorite Granola Bar Recipe

Happy Tuesday! Today was one of those mornings where Tad woke up screaming, probably from a nightmare or maybe he had been restless all morning and just wanted to get up. Do you guys know that we co-sleep? Well, now you do! It's just easier and better for us that way. I totally get that this way of sleeping does not work for other people, and that there are varying opinions on the topic. So far, it works great for us, and I think my kid may be a little too confident because of it... But either way, I don't have a husband or a partner or anything like that, so there's nobody in bed to bother except me. This morning, I was awoken by a scream and then a sudden, "Bye mom!" to which Tad quickly departed out of the bedroom and into the kitchen. I rolled over to grab my phone and check the time. Tuesday?! I thought yesterday was Tuesday! I suddenly felt like Phil Connors repeating the same day over and over again. Do you ever have those where everything you do the day before seems like it was enough to fill up two? Oi. I don't know where I am living anymore!

Instead of wallowing about the strange mystical time void that is Monday, I decided to make some granola bars for our family. It seemed like the appropriate thing to do. I love these granola bars because they're kind of a catchall food. I can sift through our pantry and throw in this and that, whatever I'm in the mood for, or whatever we have on hand. There's a simple base of ingredients, and then the things you add in are up to you. I also love that this recipe can be converted to have more raw ingredients or even ingredients with less animal products. I do use butter to make my granola bars, but I am sure you could substitute with coconut oil or something else similar. 

INGREDIENTS | 

  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats (no quick oats!)
  • 1/2 cup nuts, crushed (I used almonds)
  • 1/4 cup Sunflower Seed Meats or Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (try substituting with maple syrup, Turbinado sugar, or coconut sugar!)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit (I used cranberries)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate or peanut butter chips (I used white chocolate)

RECIPE | 

  • Preheat your oven to 350.
  • In a large bowl, combine oats, almonds, and sunflower seed meats. Mix together with your hands.
  • Cover a baking sheet with tinfoil. Brush with a nonstick cooking oil, like olive oil or coconut oil. Spread the oat mixture in a thin layer and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and toss around a bit. Bake another 3-5 minutes or until toasted. Let sit and cool a bit.
  • While you let the oats cool, heat a small saucepan over medium/low heat. Combine the honey, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt. You may want to cut the butter up a bit so that it melt faster. Stir and heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved into the mixture. 
  • In a large bowl, stir together oat mixture and the honey mixture. Make sure everything is coated. Add in the cranberries and chocolate chips. 
  • On the tinfoil, spread out the granola mixture in a thick layer, about 2 inches thick. Press it with a spatula and form into a block. It does not have to reach all corners of your pan; it will probably be a lot smaller. You want it to look thick like a store bought granola bar. 
  • Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours. When they have hardened, remove from the fridge and slice into bars. Mine made 12 bars, cut down the middle of the block and divided. You could make larger or smaller bars, that's really up to you.
  • Personally, I think these should be stored in the fridge since they are so chewy. If you want to keep them on the counter, then wrap them in plastic or keep them in an airtight container. They may fall apart more easily if exposed to warm temperatures!

Notes

I love the toasted taste of these! They smell divine. I really love the combination of cranberries and white chocolate. I think a cashew, peanut, and pumpkin seed mixture could be absolutely delicious as well! These are such a great grab-and-go snack that is perfectly good for you. I've said it before, but even if there is sugar in a recipe, it's always better to eat it if you made the sweet yourself! 
These bars do like to fall apart when they sit out on the counter for an extended period of time. I really recommend refrigerating them between snacking!
 

What do you think? If you are on a journey to excluding processed food like we are, then this might just be a gateway treat for you to make! I know we tend to reach for these when we are feeling peckish. It's a good reminder that you can just make most of what you eat and that you don't need all of those fancy extras!

xoxo Kayla