I've been promising my mom for ages that I would post the recipe to the granola bars that I make each week. Here you go, Mom!
First, I feel that I need to tell you about my ideal granola bar. There are so many different styles of granola bars and no one likes to get a crunchy one when they were expecting chewy, or savory when they were expecting sweet, or one filled with all kinds of fruits and nuts when they like plain.
I really like chewy granola bars, and, while I have a huge sweet tooth, I don't want a granola bar that tastes like a candy bar. Because I feed them to my family on a daily basis, I wanted to include a lot of good healthy grains. I looked and looked for a recipe that met my expectations, but never could find one . . . so finally I made this one up!
Chewy granola bars
2 c rolled oats
1/2 - 1 c nuts or seeds (I generally use sliced almonds)
1/4 - 1/2 c light brown sugar (I use a 1/2 cup but don't fill it all the way)
1/2 c wheat germ
1 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c flax seeds (I used to grind them, but I like the texture they add when they're whole)
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c raisins/dried cranberries
1/2 c oil (I use safflower oil)
1/2 c honey
2 tsp vanilla
1. Preheat the oven to 300 df.
2. Place a piece of parchment paper in a 9x13 glass baking dish and grease it lightly. (I'm not sure if the greasing step is even necessary with the parchment, but it's what I've always done with granola bars.)
3. Place the oats and almonds on a jelly roll pan and bake them for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until they are fragrant and lightly toasted.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 df.
5. Combine the oats, almonds, brown sugar, wheat germ, flour, raisins, nuts, flax seeds, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl.
6. In a small saucepan, gently heat the oil, honey, and vanilla, just until they are combined.
7. Add the liquids and the egg to the dry ingredients and stir until everything is equally moistened.
8. Dump the mixture into the prepared baking dish (it will be very crumbly) and press it firmly down until it clumps together. (I sometimes leave about an inch of the pan empty to make slightly thicker bars.)
9. Bake at 350 for 26 minutes.
10. Put the pan on a cooling rack until completely cool and then cut into squares.
A few notes:
* I store the squares in a large square container, and I've found that they taste better if I keep them in the fridge, although I don't think refrigeration is really necessary.
* I have looked everywhere for a granola bar recipe that is chewy and is easy to cut into squares without crumbling all over. This one works the best for me. However, there are still some crumbly pieces that escape when I'm cutting. I put those into a small container, and the little guy eats granola with yogurt for breakfast every morning.
* The baby does not like dried fruit of any kind, so I actually leave the fruit out, pour half of the mixture into the pan, then stir in the fruit for the little guy, and pour the rest into the pan. That way everyone gets what they like!
* I've found that they hold together best when I let them cool for a really long time, both in the pan and then just on the parchment paper.