24 October 2012

Healthy Homemade Granola Bars

Healthy Homemade Granola Bars

Before I came up with this healthy homemade granola bars recipe, I would spend every weekday morning yelling “you’re going to miss the bus!” at the top of my lungs while my kids scrambled to find their shoes, coats and books. If they got any breakfast in at all, it was a store bought granola bar during the thirty second car ride to the bus stop. Sound familiar?

But in my mind, a store bought granola bar is worse than having nothing at all. Most of these “healthy” bars contain so many ingredients – half of which you don’t recognize – that the manufacturer has to make the print so tiny you can barely even read the ingredient list. On top of that, they’re usually loaded with carbohydrates and sugar. No thanks.

I set out on a mission to come up with a healthy granola bar recipe that contains fiber, protein, omega 3’s, antioxidants, and uses a relatively low glycemic sweetener. The result is a delicious, chewy bar that my kids will happily eat in the morning and that I can feel good about giving them.

The beauty of a homemade granola bar is you can tailor it to your taste. Maybe swap the chocolate for dried cranberries or cherries… the possibilities are endless.

Sometimes, instead of adding salt to my mixture I like to sprinkle Maldon flaky sea salt on parchment paper and then lay the warm, freshly cut granola bars on top so the salt sticks to the bottom. The sweet and salty combination is irresistible. I usually use dark chocolate because of the health benefits, but my kids really love the peanut butter and semi-sweet chocolate chip combination the best.

Healthy Homemade Granola Bars

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 8 bars

Healthy Homemade Granola Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats, toasted
  • 1/2 cup almonds or walnuts, finely chopped and toasted
  • 1 1/2 cups puffed brown rice, or puffed kamut cereal
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate (70%), or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup creamy almond butter or peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Toast rolled oats and chopped nuts for 10-15 minutes until fragrant. Let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together brown rice syrup, almond butter (or peanut butter), flaxseed, vanilla and salt.
  4. Combine rolled oats, nuts, puffed rice and chocolate. Add dry ingredients to the brown rice syrup mixture, and mix until syrup is evenly distributed. You will need to use your hands for this!
  5. Transfer mixture to the parchment lined baking tray. Use a rolling pin to flatten the mixture to a thickness of 1/2 inch, and a bench scraper (see my top ten kitchen gadget post) to shape it into a rectangle. If you don't have a bench scraper, you can use a ruler or other object with a straight side.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes (12 minutes for a chewier bar and 15 minutes for a little more crunch).
  7. Let cool for ten minutes, and then cut into bars (by pushing down, not across) while still warm and pliable with a bench scraper or knife. Use your bench scraper to push in the sides of the bars to shape if crumbly. Store in an airtight container.
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Comment

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15156071735699207231 Sardonia

    Hi
    I will add this to my list of good granola bar recipes to try. Last week my husband (who does the shopping–not saying I’m not grateful) brought home granola bars with a list of ingredients longer than a normal human alimentary canal…I am looking forward to trying them!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07743810732503407971 Nora eldean

    These are delicious!!I switched out the brown rice syrup for maple syrup and raw honey because it is what I had on hand. I will surely share this recipe with friends. Thanks again.
    -Nora

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12754910243893386600 onthesinglemomsbudget

    Is this chewy? I have been looking for a healthy recipe but I haven’t found one that looks delicious! This looks like the consistency of the chewy granola bars in the grocery stores. I want that chewy consistency, just not all the “junk” in their granola bars. :-)

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03294418029858369718 Pauline Rhoads

      As long as you don’t over bake them they will be chewy. Bake for 12-13 minutes, but no more. Once you take them out of the oven they do firm up a bit, so don’t worry about them being under baked. Stick to the amounts of dry ingredients or you will lose moisture, i.e, don’t throw in extra oatmeal or additional seeds but you can switch out ingredients to your taste. Pauline@thebettercrumb.com

  • Frances Arking

    I can not believe the reaction from my kids : ” MOM, this is sooo yum” ” Can I have more please”. if they only knew that I put almond butter and flax seed, they would run the other way.
    Thanks for a great recipe. I also wanted to add that I didnt have brown rice puffed cereal so i used a brown rice – rice cake and just crumbled it up. It worked fine.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03294418029858369718 Pauline Rhoads

      Wow, great idea on the brown rice cakes. Glad your kids enjoyed them! Pauline@thebettercrumb

  • Anonymous

    Made these yesterday with a few substitutions of on-hand ingredients (honey+corn syrup for the brown rice syrup, crushed rice chex for the puffed rice). They get an A++ from me and my family!

  • Anonymous

    How long do these typically last? Do you have any suggestions for making them keep longer?

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03294418029858369718 Pauline Rhoads

      I keep them in a tupperware container. You can keep them for up to a week, but honestly they never last that long. When they come out of the oven and are still slightly warm they go fast!

  • Anonymous

    These were incredible! I have a 5 year old and we eat relatively healthy. I have been cutting out processed foods over the past year or 2. My daughter LOVES nutrigrains. However, they are loaded with sugar and a million other things that I cannot pronounce! I just made these and used maple syrup (Intead of brown rice because I had some on hand). The rest of the ingredients I followed to a T. WOW these are awesome! Needless to say we both will eat these from now on. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    these turned out great, really exceeded my expectations! thanks for the recipe!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05702893389568789466 Jessy

    Can you use honey instead of rice syrup?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03294418029858369718 Pauline Rhoads

    Yes, you can easily switch out the brown rice syrup for honey or maple syrup. I use brown rice syrup because I think it gives a chewier texture.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05702893389568789466 Jessy

      Thank you! My family does not have much of a taste for syrup unfortunately so I will try both and see what I can get away with ;)

  • Anonymous

    I doubled the batch but did not double the brown rice syrup because I was afraid it would be too much sugar. I also forgot the vanilla and chocolate chips. They came out tasting a little bland, so next time I will add more syrup! Additionally, I used a mixture of nuts and whole flax seeds. I baked it a little longer as I wanted crunchy granola crumbles. My oh my, it was a winner! My 18 month old loved it and so did all my family and friends. I did have some parts with more salt than othes-next time I will try your suggestion to spread it out evenly. All in all, this was a winner. I’ve spent the last 3 hours scouring the web to find this recipe to try it again…can’t wait! Thanks for posting this awesome recipe!

  • Chelsea

    I made them and they are not staying together very well! I used half honey and half maple syrup…any suggestions?

    • Pauline Rhoads

      Sorry about that! Did you change the ratio of dry to wet at all? Add extra grains etc…? If not, it could just be that they were not packed into a rectangular shape firmly enough before baking. The mixture is pretty crumbly until packed and baked, and generally stays together pretty well.