Homemade Granola Bars

17 Jan

You all know I try as much as possible to make my own snack food, or at least keep it minimally-processed (as Michael Pollan says, eat all the junk food you want – as long as you make it yourself*), and one of my favorite grab-and-go snacks is the granola bar. It’s fast, keeps for a long time, comes individually-wrapped and is a healthier, more filling alternative to a bag of chips.

It also, in the case of the Quaker and Nature Valley brands, contains a variety of preservatives, artificial coloring agents, and, yes, corn syrup (check your labels: Quaker is now touting the absence of high fructose corn syrup, but still contains three different sweeteners, and only the chewy Nature Valley varieties contain this).

The point is, I had the feeling that granola bars, like cheez-its, could be made with much fewer ingredients.

I’ve tried once or twice before and have not yet succeeded — the bars didn’t succeed in sticking together into a solid mass in the oven. So this time, I was determined (which in my case means, I followed the recipe as closely as possible). I used this one for Cranberry Almond Granola Bars (my favorite dried fruit and a nut I always keep on hand).

I only made these modifications to the original recipe:

  • I omitted bran flakes because I didn’t have any — I didn’t add any additional dry ingredients
  • Used two tablespoons of milled flax seed rather than one each of flax and chia
  • Used honey soynut butter instead of almond butter

And they worked!

I love the taste of the honey soynut butter, rather than almond butter, as it gives the granola bar a nice sweetness, rather than an overly nutty taste, though it did require some vigorous whisking to bind with the butter and maple syrup.

A few of the bars did crumble on the edges when I sliced them, but as long as they are handled somewhat gingerly, they seem to hold up just fine. A few commenters on the original blog suggested trying a thicker binding agent (such as honey in place of maple syrup), so I might try that next time.

I’ll definitely be making these in a regular rotation — they only take about ten minutes of prep, and then 25 minutes in the oven. Sure, they don’t come individually-wrapped, but a little parchment paper in a Ziploc is a sacrifice I’m willing to make to know exactly what goes into my food.

*Want to win a free copy of Michael Pollan’s new, illustrated edition of Food Rules? Stop by last week’s post and leave a comment to enter for a chance to win, as We*Meat*Again celebrates our 1000th site visit!

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2 Responses to “Homemade Granola Bars”

  1. Erica January 24, 2012 at 2:31 AM #

    Yum! I love making homemade granola bars . . . they taste better, plus there’s no wrapper to toss. My sister gave me a great recipe and it’s just wonderfully textured and gooey. It uses honey and brown sugar instead of maple syrup, and with all that plus chocolate chips it’s a bit on the sweet side, but you could add/substitute dried fruits and nuts. Here’s my post with the recipe, in case you want to try it! http://kindsofhoney.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/ees-hearty-sweet-granola-bars/

    • Marissa of We*Meat*Again January 24, 2012 at 8:39 AM #

      Thanks for sharing your post, Erica. I don’t know how I missed that one, but I will definitely be trying your recipe next time around…

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