As you see this post, do me a favor…. remember what your first thought was when you saw the title of Chewy Granola Bars and were getting ready to pass on by. Then bookmark the page. And make these. What I’ll do is promise you, that after you’ve sunk your teeth into the very first bite, you will never, ever… think of granola bars… ever… in the same way again. You’ll also find that you’ll never need another granola bar in your life. These are it… period. If you didn’t have a granola bar in your life? You do now.
This recipe is originally from King Arthur’s website. I’ve made a slightly different version of my own, which replaces the butter with canola oil and some other minor changes and all I’ve been wondering lately is… where have you been all my life?! I had no idea granola bars could taste this good. Like what, you ask? Like amazing, that’s what. Let me tell you…
They’re delicious first and foremost… brimming with densely packed crazy flavor. They’re completely and fabulously adaptable to whatever your taste buds desire. They’re chock full of protein and whole grains and completely in line with any clean eating regime you’ve got going. They’re fun to eat because they’re thick, chewy and slightly sweetened so you really feel like you’re eating something greatly substantial… both from a nutritional standpoint and from the satisfaction and sustainable energy you get from just one of these bars. You’ll want to reach for one mid-afternoon for a feel good, totally healthful snack. Or in the morning as a grab-n-go breakfast. Whenever or wherever, I can assure that you’ll fall in love with these just as I did and will have no trouble finding a place for them in your day.
Chewy Granola Bars
(Adapted from King Arthur Flour)
3 1/3 cups quick rolled oats (if gluten-free, be sure to use gluten-free oats)
1 cup granulated sugar (a little more or less depending on the amount of fruit you use, if any)
2/3 cup oat flour (or 2/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups dried fruits and nuts (see suggestions below)*
2/3 cup peanut butter or another nut butter (optional but it’s so good)
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey
4 tablespoons light corn syrup (or you might try replacing with maple syrup or honey)
2 tablespoon water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9″ x 13″ x 2″ pan in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. Coat the parchment paper with a non-stick spray.
Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, oil, liquid sweeteners and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry and add peanut butter (if using) until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan. (A piece of plastic wrap can help with this, as you press down on the back of it.)
Bake the bars for 30 to 35 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges — don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops too. They’ll still seem soft and almost under baked when you press into the center of the pan but don’t worry, they’ll set completely once cool.
Cool the bars for 5 minutes in the pan on a cooling rack. Using the parchment sling, lift and remove the bars and place them on the cooling rack to continue cooling.
While the bars a still a little warm, lift and place on flat surface and using a knife (or bench knife), cut the bars into squares. To store, wrap the bars individually in plastic or stack them in an airtight container. In humid weather, it’s best to store bars in the refrigerator. They also freeze well.
*Suggestions: Dried cranberries, apricots, pecans, sunflower seeds, coconut, walnuts, sesame seeds, pepitas, dried apples or even chocolate chips.
Note: In the bars pictured, I used pecans, walnuts, almonds, unsalted peanuts, dried cranberries, dried currants and peanut butter. I just run a knife once through the nuts to make them a tad bit smaller before adding to the mix. Have fun experimenting and use whatever combo of fruits and nuts you desire. Or you can leave out the fruit altogether if preferred. If so, you may want to increase the sugar just a little. If you add a lot of fruit, decrease sugar.