Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday- granola bars

If you love granola bars as much as we do, you're going to love this tutorial. 

Whenever I realize that we are consuming a lot of something, I like to try to make it myself so that I know exactly what we're consuming.  And since we eat granola bars pretty much daily, I have been making them for us for a couple of years now.  They are super easy and taste amazing!  Once you try them, you'll be hooked. 

Preheat the oven to 400.  Mix together the following in a shallow dish:

2 cups oats
3/4 cup wheat germ (usually found in the cereal aisle)
3/4 cup crushed nuts or sunflower seeds
1 cup crushed peanuts

To crush the nuts, I put them all in a Ziploc bag and beat them with a saucepan (that I will be using later in the recipe).  I like to use walnuts or pecans, but any nut would be great.  You could even use all peanuts instead of using two types. 
Once you have mixed all the dry ingredients in a shallow dish, put it in the oven to toast for 10-12 minutes, stirring every 4 minutes.  You want everything to get a little golden, but not very dark. 

While you're toasting, bring the following ingredients to a simmer in a sauce pan:

2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
4 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt

Then pour your toasted dry ingredients and your sweet sauce into a large bowl and mix well.  This is when you get to add the extras.  Most often, I make our granola bars with dried cranberries and chocolate, but there are a million great combinations.  Dried apple and toffee bits, peanut butter chips and chocolate chips, white chocolate and dried cherry.  If I am adding something that will melt, like chocolate, I do not stir it into the mix at this time.  I don't like for the melted chocolate to get into every bit of the bar.  So I just add the dried fruit in the bowl during this step.

Line a 9" by 12" pan with waxed paper and grease the paper well.  This is when I add my chocolate by sprinkling it along the bottom of the pan.  This gives a nice thin layer of chocolate on top of the bars. 

Pour the mixture from your bowl on top of the chocolate and smooth it out with a spoon.  Then take another piece of greased wax paper and use it to press the bars down firmly into the dish.  This ensures that they will be sturdy once they have set and not have lots of air pockets. 

The bars will need to cool in the dish for at least 3 hours.  Sometimes I put mine in the fridge if it is too hot in the house.  Once they are cool, turn them out onto a cutting board and cut them into whatever size and shape you like.  I usually do 2 1/2" squares. 

You could store all your bars together in an airtight container, but I individually wrap ours in plastic wrap because we pack them for lunch. 

This recipe makes 18-20 good sized granola bars, so a batch usually lasts us two or three weeks.  It takes a little bit of time, but is well worth it!

Now that I've recovered from the weekend festivities, I'm back to sewing for the shop and looking ahead to the next holiday- Mother's Day.  Tomorrow I will be sharing a Mother's Day gift guide with some awesome handmade gifts that any mom would love!


  1. I've made these 3 times this month, but I just make half batches. Love this recipe!



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