Friday, March 1, 2013

Homemade Granola Bars Recipe

Being healthy and eating well is something I have always incorporated into my life style.  It is tough, and I have battles when a cookie is calling my name, but everything in moderation.  I never deprive myself from something that I want, I just make sure I don’t over indulge {much easier said than done}.  I try to stock my home with many healthy and tasty snack options to help me make it to my next meal! What can I say, I am a snack-a-holic.  I would graze on food all day if I let myself.

I am always buying granola bars, but I wasn’t thrilled with all of the ‘extra’ ingredients on the label that I had no clue what they are.  So I took matters into my own hands, referenced my girl, Ina Garten, and searched for a granola bar recipe.  She never fails me, and of course had a recipe I was excited to try, but with my own twist of course.  These bars are satisfying, fill that craving of sweet and crunchy and flavorful.  They don’t take long to make and are great to make at the beginning of the week to grab on your way out the door to work, school, or running errands.  You won’t be disappointed if you make these.

Homemade Granola Bars Recipe
Recipe by Ina Garten
Makes 12-16 bars
Preheat oven to 350o

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1/3 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped dried cherries
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper.

Next, toss the oatmeal, nuts, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.  Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.  Now reduce the oven temperature to 300o.

In a small saucepan mix the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt together and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.  Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries and stir well.

Spread the mixture into the prepared pan, and using your fingers, lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan.   This is easier to do if your fingers are wet.  Bake the granola bars for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Be sure to allow the bars to cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.


1)      Experiment with different dried fruits, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, etc in the bars to make any flavor combination you prefer.  I haven’t worked any other combos yet, but I have some ideas in my mind. 
2)      I love using a different mix of nuts in these bars.  If you prefer a specific one over another, just make sure you use any type of combination that adds up to 1 cup of nuts.  Use what you have is my motto!
3)      These would be a nice substitute for a dessert buffet instead of the typical cookies, cakes, pies. 

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