The BEST Granola Bars EVER!

Best ever granola bars

Best ever granola bars

Dear sweet goodness…I’m so glad I found this recipe online!  I was looking for a simple granola bar recipe because my son’s affection with these little treats was becoming expensive.  It was hard to find granola bars that didn’t have a ridiculous amount of sugar in them…even the brands touted as healthy!  In my search, I found this wonderful blog, How Sweet it is, and a recipe for “5-Ingredient Granola Bars.”  Here’s the recipe (verbatim from How Sweet it is), followed by my substitutions/tweaks in bold:

5 Ingredient Peanut Butter Granola Bars

makes 12-16 granola squares

4 cups rolled oats

2 tablespoons chia seeds (these are optional, I just love the texture they give)

1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, chopped

3/4 cup natural peanut butter, melted

1/2 cup brown rice syrup (honey works too!)

add ins:

chocolate chips

wheat germ

flaxseed

dried fruit (I made some with cherries!)

other nuts

seeds
coconut
Preheat over to 350.

In a large bowl, combine oats, chia seeds and peanuts. Add brown rice syrup (or honey) and mix to combine. Add melted peanut butter and mix until moistened. This works as a perfect, simple granola bar, but you can also throw in any add-ins at this time. Fold them into the dough. You may need to get in there with your hands and work the granola dough! If dough is still too dry (this can depend on your ingredients) add more peanut butter or syrup (or honey) 1 tablespoon at a time until moistened.

Press dough in a greased (non-stick spray) 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes.

These would also work as a great no-bake granola bar, but I liked how they came together and the chocolate chips melted as they got warm. If you want to make no-bakes, simply press the dough into the pan and refrigerate for 60 minutes.

My substitutions/tweaks:

  • I use 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds instead of peanuts
  • I add 2 tablespoons chia meal in addition to the chia seeds (chia makes them chewy)
  • I add 1/2 cup raw shelled hemp seeds
  • I also drizzle on a little raw agave nectar (probably 1 teaspoon)
  • I can never leave out 1/2 cup peanut butter chips (try to make them as natural as possible…I use Sunspire Brand).  The peanut butter chips add an awesome smoothness

Final Tips

  • Chia seeds, chia meal and hemp seeds are really expensive.  You could skip those ingredients and still have an inexpensive, tasty granola bar.  I also think that pancake syrup would be a cheap alternative to brown rice syrup, which is also pretty expensive.  Pancake syrup would make this much less healthy though, but it’s a cheaper alternative.  Try to avoid high fructose corn syrup at all costs!
  • I always melt the peanut  butter and brown rice syrup/honey…makes a world of difference in combining the ingredients
  • I add half the mixture to the baking pan, then add 1/4 cup of chocolate chips to the second half (my son doesn’t need any extra energy…he has plenty to go around).
  • I’ve tried a batch with raw,unsweetened coconut, and it was great!  I just need to be in the mood for this version, so I usually don’t add coconut
  • I bake it for only 13 minutes…I found that this gave me the best consistency for chewy bars

Here is a picture of the ingredients, without the peanut butter chips (I used them all in the last batch).

Granola bar ingredients (peanut butter chips are missing)

Granola bar ingredients (peanut butter chips are missing)

I hope you and your family enjoy this as much as we do….we think they’re better than store-bought granola bars!

Written by: Lori Francis

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