Lately, I’ve been noting what we buy, and thinking twice about whether we can make it on our own, instead of buying it. I am sure that this is something that will be scrutinized, because I am neither Martha Stewart nor a pioneer, but at the end of the day, it feels gratifying to actually do something well and on my own. (I also feel that way about growing things — especially garlic, onions and broccoli, because it seems like we buy them EVERY week … but that’s another story, probably for the Spring.) Anyway…one of the things we buy (a lot of…) every week are granola bars. Marc likes the Kashi bars, but I find them a bit too dry. I like the Chewy 90 calorie granola bars, but they flavors are pretty basic and mostly only involve chocolate. I decided to make these, and I hope to do so weekly, to defray the cost of buying granola bars each week.
I was a little tentative about making these, mostly because I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’m glad that I did — they were easy and I am definitely going to make them again. I will probably try it with different mix-ins, like coconut, banana chips, dried apricots, etc. The sky is the limit with homemade granola bars!
recipe adapted from Joyful Abode
- 2 c. rolled oats
- 3/4 c. wheat germ (Did you know wheat germ keeps best in the refrigerator? I did not know this.)
- 3/4 c. sunflower seeds
- 1 c. peanuts
- 2/3 c. brown sugar
- 1/2 c. honey
- 4 tbsp. butter (I am going to cut this down next time I make this, just to make it healthier)
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract (I used more)
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- Approximately 8 oz. of dried fruit, in this case raisins and craisins
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Crush peanuts by placing them in a plastic bag and smashing with a mallet, sauce pan or can.
3. Mix the peanuts, oats, wheat germ and sunflower seeds in a baking dish with sides. Toast them in the oven for 10-12 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes, so that nothing burns.
4. Meanwhile, prepare a 9×13 casserole dish, lining it with wax paper that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
5. When the dry ingredients are done, combine butter, brown sugar, honey, vanilla, and kosher salt in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. I was terrified of over-cooking this, so the minute it started to simmer, I took it right off the heat.
6. Pour liquid mixture over the oat mixture and dried fruit. Mix with a spoon in a large bowl. Make sure you mix everything very well — you want to make sure everything is combined through. When fully combined, pour into your prepared 9×13 dish.
7. Spread out the mixture evenly with a wooden spoon. Tear off a new sheet of wax paper and place it on the top of the granola, pressing down to make sure that the mixture is all evenly distributed under the wax paper.
8. Wait 2-3 hours (at least), so that granola has time to cool. When it is cool, open the waxed paper, and carefully turn granola over onto a cutting board, peeling away the rest of the paper.
9. Using a large chef’s knife, press down (don’t saw!) to separate mixture into bars. Feel free to make whatever size you’d like. This recipe yielded me 14 bars, but I am sure I made pretty generously sized bars.
10. Wrap individually in wax paper or plastic wrap, to make it easy to snack anytime!