December 3, 2022

My daughter and I have been spending Saturday afternoons the last few weekstrying to make great granola bars. Not sure how well we are really doing but I have been eating up our progress!

How are Granola Bars Made?

First of all it is important to have a place to start from with any kind of recipe. When making granola bars there are two parts, dry and wet.

The dry part of the granola bars is based on rolled oats and usually some kind of nuts and seeds as well as a sweetener. I have used various nuts and seeds now and for sweetners have used dates, brown sugar, and coconut.

For the wet portion of the granola bars there are a few staples. Peanut butter is popular, as is often some kind of oil, honey, chocolate chips, and I am guessing more things than we can all think of.

After you have mixed the two parts together you squeeze them down in an 8×8 or 9×13 pan and then put in the fridge to harden.

So with so many options there are a multitude of combinations to make your granola bars. I would like to share our recipes and how they have changed and gotten better as time goes on.

First Granola Bar Attempt

first granola bar ingredientsThe first attempt as you can see the ingredients here was ok although a little dry.

We looked through a lot of recipes and ended up doing the worst thing, modding recipes before we knew what we were doing 🙂

First Granola Bar Ingredients

2 1/2 cups Rolled Oats
1/2 cup Flaked Coconut
1/2 cup Crushed Walnuts
1 cup Quinoa
1/2 cup Crushed Pecans
1/2 cup Pumpkin Seeds

1/2 cup Honey
1/2 cup Peanut Butter
1/4 cup Butter
1/2 cup Brown Sugar

  1. We knew that there was an advantage to toasting our dry goods and we had a mixture of rolled oats, quinoa, pumpkin seeds (pepitas), crushed walnuts, crushed pecans, and coconut.
  2. We cooked these at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes and then broiled for less than a minute to brown the dry ingredients
  3. For wet ingredients we used honey, brown sugar, butter, and peanut butter. heated to melted on the stove in a fairly large pot.
  4. By doing this we were able to add the dry ingredients to this pot and that gave us a place to mix it all together.
  5. After we completed the mixture we added 1/2 cup of chocolate chips but we found that they melted since our heated wet ingredients and toasted dry were just too warm.
  6. Then we put this mixture into a Pam sprayed 9×13 pan and pushed down hard to make sure the mixture was flat and compressed.
  7. Finally, we put this pan in the fridge for a couple hours to cool and make it nice and solid so we could cut it into bars.

As good as it worked it was kind of dry and the quinoa was a bit too crunchy. Another problem that we had was that we kind of burnt our dry stuff and although I couldn’t taste it my darling wife certainly did.

Second Granola Bar Attempt

So the next Saturday we tried again. My daughter did not like the way the quinoa hardness added gritty bits into the original Granola Bars so we decided to leave this out. Also, we were much more careful of toasting our seeds and nuts.

We added more coconut this time which was a great addition and replaced the butter with coconut oil.

Second Granola Bar Ingredients

2 1/2 cups Rolled Oats
1 cup Flaked Coconut
1/2 cup Crushed Walnuts
1/2 cup Pumpkin Seeds

1/2 cup Honey
1 cup Peanut Butter
1/4 cup Coconut Oil
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips

We wanted to make sure we had a bit more liquid in this recipe to make it more moist and chewy and also add to the sweetness with more peanut butter and brown sugar.

We followed the same recipe instructions as we did for the first recipe and we really liked how well it worked out.

Inspiration comes from Youtube

My daughter and I discovered a few videos along the way in making these Granola Bars and I think this one from Modern Mom Jesse Jane is probably the best of the bunch that we watched. This really gives you an idea of the process as well as the pushing down of the granola bars using an 8×8 pan inside the 9×13. Great Stuff!

Third Granola Bar Attempt

This one has been our best so far. We got everything right and most of our Granola bars were gone by Sunday night. Everyone seemed to like them.

To do this we reduced out ingredients and wanted to add dried apricots and dried cranberries to get a more fruity flavor. Also we got rid of some of the other ingredients. Here is what we used exactly.

Third Granola Bar Ingredients

5 ingredient granola bars2 1/2 cups Rolled Oats
1 cup Flaked Coconut
1/2 cup Pumpkin Seeds

1/2 cup Honey

1 cup Peanut Butter
1/4 cup Coconut Oil
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips

1/2 cup Chopped Dried Apricots
1/2 cup Dried Cranberries

  1. We browned the Rolled oats, Coconut, and Pumpkin Seeds for about 10 minutes (no broil this time)
  2. In a large pot melt the Honey, Peanut Butter, Coconut Oil, Brown Sugar, and Chocolate Chips
  3. granola bar breakdownAdded the chopped dried Apricots and dried Cranberries along with the dry toasted ingredients to the pot with the wet ingredients
  4. Mix, mix, mix
  5. Then put the whole mixture into a 9×13 sprayed pan and pushed down.
  6. After we pushed it down well we put parchment on top and used an 8×8 pan to push it down even better and flatten well.
  7. As before we put this into the fridge for a couple hours to harden and cool

This as I said was the best one yet. We were happy with the result, and with that my daughter retired from Granola Bars as a champion baker!

As you can see from the right here, I have calculated the calories for the pan. I cut the granola bars into 12 pieces and they work out to about 537 calories each but they are yummy and I believe really good for you.

Minimalist Granola Bars

My wife found a great and simple recipe for 5 ingredient granola bars and my daughter decided to retire as granola bar champion so I made these myself yesterday.

The recipe calls for just honey, peanut butter, almonds, dates, and rolled oats. This was a great recipe and I really like the taste.

This is the first time that I have used dates and I really like the taste that they add.

Dates I have read are “natures sweetener” and I guess I have been living in a cave somewhere to have totally missed out on this fruit.

I doubled the whole recipe so that there would be enough for the 9×13 pan and it was just the right amount but it seemed there were not quite enough wet ingredients so I had a bit of trouble with the binding.

There seems to be a fair amount of dry ingredients just sitting at the bottom of the pan. Next time I make these I will just up the liquids a bit so that I can get them together a bit better.

Did I mention that these things tasted fantastic?

I know this has been a very long post but what I seem to be finding across the different food blogs are some great ideas and great recipes.

What I was happy to learn over the last few weeks was all of the different changes that we could make to change the texture and taste of the granola bars to get what we were really looking for.

Granola bar

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