Monday, March 31, 2014

Perfect Granola Bars

I have made a lot of granola bars over the years.  It seems like I am constantly trying to make "the perfect granola bar."  What is that to me?  I want the granola bar to hold together and not be a crumbly mess, to be perfectly-not-too sweet, to be chock full of tasty, healthy ingredients and to be easy to make.

I believe I have finally accomplished all of these things, and I am so excited to share the recipe with you!

These granola bars are so much better than what you can buy at the store.  They are pretty easy to make, and since you can substitute for your favorite dried fruit, nuts or other ingredients, you can make the recipe wholly your own.

Perfect Granola Bars

  • 4 cups granola cereal (I used my homemade granola, but you could also buy some)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons clear corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • optional ingredients: dried fruit, mini chocolate chips, toasted nuts, ect...

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line bottom and sides of a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil, and grease lightly.

Combine honey, butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until butter melts and the sugar completely dissolves.  Bring to a gentle boil, and let boil one minute.  Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter.

Pour butter mixture in to bowl with granola cereal. Mix well. Let cool about five minutes then add desired optional ingredients.  Stir to combine. (If you added the chocolate chips, they will most likely melt a little. This is fine, they turn into glue that helps to hold the bars together).

Transfer oat mixture to the lined 9x13 pan and use a rubber spatula or damp finger tips to firmly press the mixture into the pan. Make sure to press very hard, this will help the granola bars to stay together once they are cut. 

Bake for 20 minutes, and remove pan to cool completely (you could also put these in the refrigerator to hasten the cooling process).  If you would like, at this time you could throw some additional mini chocolate chips on top of the cooling granola bars. 

Once cool, remove granola from pan and peel away aluminum foil.  Cut into bars. Store bars in an airtight container for up to one week. For the softest bars, keep at room temperature. For 'harder bars,' store in the fridge.

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