Homemade Granola Bars

I have 4 kids. They are always hungry…always. After school is, for some reason, the worst. A full day of learning apparently makes you ravenous. I know they have a snack at school because I send it, I am pretty sure they are served lunch too (actually quite positive because I pack this as well), yet you would truly think that they were being starved. They walk in the door and are instantly begging for food. We try to make healthy choices, fruit, vegetables, etc. We also sometimes fall in to the, grab the closest thing to you and just eat it because you need to do your homework and I’m trying to get dinner on the table before dance, basketball, religion, your Dad gets home, and on and on and on.

My kids love granola bars. They are quick, easy and a bit more filling than an apple or banana. But honestly, it feels more like I am handing over candy bars than a healthy snack most of the time. By making them yourself, you know exactly what is in them and in turn, what is going in to your kids. You can also mix and match your favorite nuts, dried fruits, or chocolate to create the perfect granola bar for your family!

This recipe couldn’t be more simple. First, toast your oats and roughly chopped nut of choice. I used raw cashews in mine today because they will be toasted along with the oats and we will avoid any added salt that comes with prepackaged roasted nuts. These are also delicious with almonds or peanuts too…or a mixture of all!

While your oats are toasting, heat over medium heat in small saucepan your honey, butter and sugar (aka the good stuff) until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt. Drizzle honey mixture over your oats, nuts and whatever mix in’s you have chosen. (Make sure to set aside any chocolate and stir in after 15 minutes to avoid melting. If using mini chocolate chips, wait 20 minutes.)

Today I used dried cranberries, shredded coconut and  mini chocolate chips.

Press into your prepared pan, cool in the refrigerator for 2 hours to set. Cut into 12 bars and enjoy the peace and quiet of satisfied bellies. (If yours is anything like my house, this will last 15 minutes max- you might want to double this recipe.)

 

Homemade Granola Bars

Yield: 12 bars

Use this delicious granola bar recipe as a base that you can customize to your little hearts desire.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 c. old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 c. nuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 c. mix in's (1/4 c. each any dried fruits, mini chocolate chips, coconut, etc)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9" square pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray
  2. Spread the oats and nuts out on an ungreased cookie sheet. Toast 8-10 minutes, or until oats are golden brown.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the honey, butter, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter is melted and sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.
  4. Combine toasted oats, nuts, and any mix in's (except chocolate) in a bowl. Drizzle with honey mixture and stir to coat thoroughly. If adding chocolate let mixture sit 15 minutes before adding to prevent from melting.
  5. Press mixture into your prepared pan. Chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours.
  6. Cut into bars. Wrap or store in an airtight container. Separate each layer of bars with parchment before storing to prevent from sticking. Enjoy!
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Recipe credit Bless This Mess

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