How to Make Your Own Granola Bars

homemade granola barsEvery night, when I pack lunches for the next day’s school and work, it becomes a chore to try to find something that’s tasty and healthy and won’t kill my budget. My kids love granola bars. I try to avoid the bars that are more like candy, with extra sugars and even M&Ms, and stick with brands such as Cascadian Farms and Kashi, but they can be pretty pricey over the course of a month.

I decided to try my hand at making my own, and scouting around I found a really great recipe original to Faith and Family magazine and reposted on several blogs. It appears to be fairly healthy, with whole wheat flour and oats and sweetened with honey, which doesn’t affect the blood sugar as badly as honey. A bonus when you make your own is the lack of high fructose corn syrup and trans fats, and you can literally whip up these bars in minutes.

granola bars recipeWhen they are cool, cut and wrap individual bars in wax paper and pop them in the lunch boxes. Or, you know, eat them all in one day. (I’m not telling which happened in my house!)

Homemade Granola Bars Recipe

4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour, or spelt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup butter, softened*
1 cup honey

Add-ins: 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 cup chopped walnuts, peanut butter, soy butter, cocoa powder. Other options include dried fruits, sunflower seeds, coconut, nuts.

homemade granola barsLightly butter a 9×13-inch pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and honey first. Then add all ingredients except add-ins. Beat hard until combined. Stir in add-ins. Press mixture into pan — really jam it in there – use your hands so your bars don’t fall apart.  (Note – I FORGOT to add the flour and then had to pull the batter back out of the pan, and when I did add it in, it was very wet and sticky, so I added another 1/2 cup of flour – which made the bars very dry. I thought that the batter needed to be less moist in order to stick together – don’t make that mistake.) Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes until golden brown. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into bars. Let bars cool completely in pan before removing and serving.

Also try this Homemade Granola recipe with Grape Nuts and raisins.

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