Let me tell you, being the parent of a young child with food allergies, it kills you a little bit inside every time you have to tell them that a product isn’t safe and they get that little heartbroken look on their faces. Not long ago, my husband was on a real granola bar kick, and my (then) three year old wanted to be just like daddy. I have yet to find a store-bought granola bar that is guaranteed both milk and peanut free.
I’ve always been told I was a good cook, and I can still remember sitting on the counter helping my mom in the kitchen when I was about my son’s age. I never really bothered to be a baker, though. I didn’t like sweets, and I couldn’t be bothered! But when my son wanted his own taste of a granola bar, I broke down and went looking for recipes, thinking how hard can it be?
The answer is: it’s dead simple. It’s so simple, and the resulting product is so good, you will never buy your granola bars again. I mean, why would you, when you can create your own breakfast bar custom made to order?
Here’s the basic recipe that was one of the first among my baking-from-scratch journey!
|Prep time||10 minutes|
|Cook time||25 minutes|
|Total time||35 minutes|
|Misc||Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable|
- 1/4 cup oat bran
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 - 1 1/2 cup whatever you want to add (c/raisins, dried fruit, seeds, chocolate chips, whatever--go nuts!)
- 1/2 cup light oil
- 1/2 cup honey (the more raw and unfiltered, the better)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cups coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
- 1/2 cup wheat germ
- 1/4 cup cold milled flax seed
- 1 tablespoon chia seed
|Step 1.||Mix the dry goods together in a large bowl. Mix the wet goods in a smaller bowl.|
|Step 2.||Pour the wet goods into the dry goods and mix together by hand thoroughly and until no floury bits remain. Press firmly into the 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before cutting. The end result will be softer than commercial and prone to breaking into square chunks, so you may opt for cutting squares or wider "bars" (but cutting them before they get too cold helps a lot).|
The recipe is so flexible. Feel free to play with it and make it your own! I strongly recommend doubling the recipe, because one batch goes really fast.
Also, if you put chocolate chips in this recipe, don’t leave it within arm’s reach of a toddler, because they WILL love these bars so much they will help themselves to seconds. And thirds. And half a pan. Then, because of the high fiber goodness, you may experience a phenomenon known as “Holy Crap!”
- You can use quick oats instead of rolled oats, but the quick oats are not as pretty in the end.
- The original recipe I worked over called for brown sugar. I’ve had very good results with coconut blossom sugar, which is unrefined, more ecofriendly and gives a pleasant taste. The problem with the coconut blossom sugar is I’ve only found it in large (read: baking) quantities at Costco. It’s a little drier than the brown sugar.
- As far as overall sugar quantity, I’ve reduced the sugar as far down as 1/4 cup and the granola bars are still OK. 1/2 cup is a better compromise. If you go down to 1/4 cup of sugar for diabetic reasons, I recommend adding a little something savory in its place like peanut butter.
- The flax seed is optional, but it’s a good way to get your Omega 3 and phytosterols.
- Chia seed is also optional, but they’re high in fiber and when soaked they add a bit of extra gelling power.