Have you ever made homemade granola bars? I did for the first time a few years ago to take with us on a trip to Yellowstone. They were delicious bits of heaven and I’ve been making that same recipe often for years. The other day I got a crazy idea to turn granola bars into one of my giant “# of this thing you should make” recipe posts and now I can’t be stopped! I have literally made granola bars at least three times a week for the last month. They are awesome! They taste delicious, they travel well, they make great little gifts to take over to friends, and they are just plain easy to put together. Need a snack for preschool, after t-ball, or to take in the car to a game? I’ve got you covered.
I’m so excited about these posts because I think there’s a lot of power in giving you a lot of bang for your click. In other words, no matter how you got here, I want to make sure that you don’t go away with out getting some great information/inspiration. If you chose to click over to my blog I want to make your time worthwhile. So far I’ve done 4 Ways to Cook the Perfect Chicken Breast and 9 Staple Salad Dressings You Should Know How to Make (which is going crazy in Pinterest, hooray!), and I have so many fun things planned.
I’m so excited to share this post with you! I have spent so much time (and calories) getting things ready and you are going to love it! If this post speaks to you, you think someone else might like it, or you want to save it for later, by all means share it on your social media platforms. Pin it, facebook it, throw a picture up on Instagram and tag me (#blessthismesseats). All of those things are incredibly helpful to me and the more sharing that happens the more I’m able to turn this hobby into a job that helps my family (and my house building project). There is so much power in your sharing, you literally have no idea how important that is for me.
Thank you! And now enjoy some amazing homemade granola bars from my kitchen to yours.
Base Granola Bar Recipe
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 12
- 2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup nuts, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cups total extra mix-ins (about 1/4 cup of 3 different ingredients such as dried fruits, coconut, chocolate chips, etc.)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch square baking dish with parchment or foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.
- Place the oats and nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly toasted. Place the nuts and oats in a large bowl.
- While the oats are toasting, add the honey, butter, and brown sugar to a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. When butter mixture is ready, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Pour this mixture over the oat and nut mixture and stir to combine. Add any extra ingredients (except for chocolate) and stir to combine. Make sure none of the oats are dry.
- If you are adding chocolate, wait about 15 minutes for the mixture to cool a bit before adding the chocolate and then stirring to combine.
- Place all of the oat mixture in the prepared pan. Use a rubber spatula or the bottom of a greased measuring cup to press the mixture into the pan. Chill the granola bars for at least 2 hours. Lift the bars from the pan using the edges of the foil or parchment and place them on a cutting board. Cut into desired shape/sizes and serve.
These store very well in the fridge or freezer. You may want to wrap them in a bit of parchment paper before putting them in a container or plastic bag in the fridge so that they don’t stick together.
This recipe is adapted from and inspired by What’s Gaby Cooking.
I have made this recipe over a dozen times in the last month and here’s what I’ve found:
- You can use 1/3 cup honey and 1/4 cup brown sugar in this recipe if you like a stronger honey flavor. The granola bars will be slightly more sticky this way. My kids did not like this ratio, though I thought it was great. The honey flavor was too strong for them.
- You can replace the brown sugar with honey and gently boil the mixture for about a minutes for these bars (stirring lots, honey burns quickly). The honey flavor was very strong but the bars held together. I didn’t really like the bars like this (too much honey flavor but when I used less they didn’t stick together).
- You can make the recipe as written and gently boil the mixture for 1 to 2 minutes and the bars will have a little more crunch to them and will be less soft/sticky.
- I’m 90% sure you could replace the brown sugar with coconut sugar though I haven’t tried it yet.
- I liked to press my bars down a second time after they chilled for the 2 hours. This really helped them to hold together well.
- These store super well in the fridge or freezer.
- If you are going to add chocolate, you’ll want to wait until the hot honey and oat mixture cools a little bit (about 15 minutes) or all the chocolate chips will melt (still tastes great, but doesn’t look as nice).
- Toasting the nuts and oats is optional but it makes the granola bars taste like cookies. I highly recommend it.
- You don’t actually have to put the oats/nuts in the bowl. If the pan that you toasted them on is large enough you can just pour the hot honey mixture over the top and carefully stir everything together right on the pan. It’s a little trickier, but I’d rather take a little more time to stir than wash an extra bowl.
- I feel like these are good after the 2 hour rest but I feel like they are really good after you let them sit overnight (this could be at room temperature if you are short on fridge space…). It gives everything time to blend and the texture improves, just FYI.
- I tried a batch with coconut oil in place of the butter and it turned out great though they seemed to not hold together as well.
Here are my 8 variations. You’ll follow the directions in the “master mix” recipe but I have specified what nuts and add-ins to include. The possibilities are endless but here are some of my favorites!
Blueberry = master mix + almonds + 1/2 cup dried blueberries + 1/4 cup shredded coconut
Notes: I’m obsessed with dried blueberries right now! You can get really tasty ones at Trader Joe’s (they were soft and squishy and did come with added sugar), and I also bought a bag of unsweetened ones from Bob’s Red Mill online and had them mailed to my house. These were very hard but still delicious. In an effort to soften them up a bit I tossed them in the butter mixture on the stove and let them sit in the hot liquid for about 10 minutes which worked fine. You can use traditional shredded sweetened coconut or you can buy shredded unsweetened coconut, both were delicious, though I like the texture of the unsweetened coconut better.
Dark Chocolate Cherry = master mix + pecans + 1/2 cup dried cherries + 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
Notes: The toasted pecans in the granola bars were my favorite. If you are going to use pecans don’t skip the toasting step because it makes them amazing! I have bought dried tart cherries, dried Bing cherries, and dried “sweet” cherries recently. They are all delicious (again I got some at Trader Joe’s and the tart cherries online from Bob’s Red Mill). I liked the tang of the tart cherries the best but any will work really.
Tropical = master mix + cashews + 1/2 cup chopped dried fruit (pineapple, mango, and mandrine oranges) + 1/4 cup coconut
I got all of the dried fruit at Trader Joe’s and it was all so delicious. I’m sad my dried pineapple is all gone. You can use traditional shredded sweetened coconut or you can buy unsweetened coconut, both were delicious, though I like the texture of the unsweetened coconut better.
White Chocolate Cranberry = master mix + almonds + 1/4 cup dried cranberries + 1/4 cup sunflower seeds + 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
These were classic, traditional, and good. Plus, the red from the cranberries are really pretty.
Peanut Butter Chocolate = master mix + 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (add this when you add the vanilla and salt and stir well to combine) + 1/2 cup M&M’s + 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Notes: Did you even have those “Kudos” bars when you were a kid that were practically an oat candy bar? These taste just like them. I used both natural and traditional peanut butter with success. The addition of a few peanuts would be delicious though I didn’t try it.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel = master mix + 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (add this when you add the vanilla and salt and stir well to combine) + 1/3 cup broken pretzel pieces + 1/4 cup peanut butter chips + 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Notes: these fell apart a little more for me (from adding the pretzels I assume, they must soak up some of the moisture faster than the oats do), you can add an additional 2 tablespoons of butter to the honey mixture to add a little more moisture.
Spiced Nuts = master mix + 1/2 cup almonds + 1/2 cup pecans + 1/2 cup cashews + 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (add this when you add the vanilla and salt)
Notes: The additional of cinnamon and all those perfectly toasted nuts was awesome.
Sunflower Pecan = master mix + almonds + 1/4 cup sunflower seeds + 1/4 cup candy coated sunflower seeds + 1/4 cup shredded coconut
Notes: The candy coated sunflower seeds are really pretty and I liked using them, but they actually don’t taste all the great (they don’t have any chocolate). After I made and ate these I wanted to go back and add either 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to the butter mixture OR some chocolate chips (maybe white chocolate chips?). They needed a little more going on. You can use traditional shredded sweetened coconut or you can buy unsweetened coconut, both were delicious, though I like the texture of the unsweetened coconut better.
Which granola bar recipe will you be making first?
Here’s one last combo because it’s my current obsession – the master mix with pecans (toasted, you have to toast the pecans!) with dried blueberries and a little bit of cinnamon thrown in. You guys, it tastes like a berry crisp and I’m not complaining. It’s so good!
You have a million and one options (with 8 solid recipes to start with) and I know at least one of them spoke to you heart (or stomach) today.
Go and make them!