A well-rounded diet should include some grab-and-go treats that will keep you moving. Hearty homemade granola bars are delicious, healthy addition to your diet. Free of artificial preservatives and sweeteners, these chewy bars offer a filling energy boost that canâ€™t be beat. Best of all, they couldnâ€™t be easier to make!
The core of any homemade granola bar is an oat mixture. To make a 9â€ x 13â€ pan of granola bars, youâ€™ll want to combine 2 1/2 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats, 1 cup of whole-wheat flour, 1/3 cup of toasted wheat germ and 1/3 cup of raw sunflower seeds in a large bowl. If desired, you could also add up to 1/4 cup of whole chia seeds or organic flaxseed meal for an extra nutrient boost.
A sticky binding agent is essential for solid granola bars that donâ€™t fall apart when theyâ€™re cut. Combine 1/3 cup of light brown sugar, 2/3 cup of unsweetened nut butter, 3/4 cup of honey, 2 tsp. vanilla extract and 1/4 cup of jam or apple butter in a small bowl. Pour the binding agent over the oat mixture and stir the dough with a rubber spatula until it’s well-mixed.
Finally, customize your homemade granola bars by stirring in 1 1/2 to 2 cups of mix-ins. Add your favorite dried fruit, nuts and chips to the batter for a truly unique treat. One good combination is raisins and chocolate chips or carob chips. Goji berries and chopped raw Brazil nuts add some serious superfood power. For a tropical twist, try dried mango, dried pineapple and roasted macadamia nuts.
Baking and Serving
Press the granola bar dough into a lightly greased 9â€ x 13â€ baking dish, making sure that the top is even and all the pan crevices are filled. Bake the granola bars at 325 degrees Fahrenheit until theyâ€™re golden brown, about 20 to 30 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and slice the granola bars immediately with a very sharp knife. Allow them to cool completely in the baking dish; theyâ€™re far too soft to scoop out intact when theyâ€™re warm. Store them in an airtight container for up to a week.