This recipe for homemade granola bars is not only a healthy but easy to make recipe for your family.
My family loves granola—especially granola bars. Unfortunately, most store-bought granola bars are nothing but candy in clever disguise. And the few truly nutritious granola products on the market more often than not taste like cardboard and cost like the devil.
So, once again, necessity was the mother, and — after a bit of experimentation — I invented what I feel is an unbeatable recipe for homemade granola bars. While I consider the following list of ingredients to be the core of the recipe, you can change things around a bit to suit your family's tastes and preferences. In fact, in a moment I'll offer some suggestions for doing just that.
2½ cups rolled oats (old-fashioned or instant)
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup slivered almonds
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 cup raisins
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
While your oven is preheating to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, spread the oats, coconut, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, wheat germ and almonds evenly on a 9 inch by 12 inch baking sheet. Bake these dry ingredients for 20 minutes, stirring them occasionally.
Meanwhile, heat the butter (or margarine), brown sugar and honey in a small saucepan, allowing the brew to simmer until the oat mixture is ready to come out of the oven. (If you or yours like really crispy granola, bake the dry ingredients an additional few minutes.) As soon as the oat mixture is out, add the raisins, stirring them into the other ingredients.
Now remove the honey from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, then pour the hot liquid over the oat mixture and stir until all the dry ingredients are coated.
Next, press the granola firmly into the bottom of a greased 8 inch by 8 inch pan and place it in the still-warm oven to bake (at the same 300 degrees Fahrenheit as before) for 20 minutes. (An 8 inch by 8 inch pan makes bars about an inch thick; if you want thinner bars, use a slightly larger pan.)
When you remove the granola from the oven, allow it to cool only slightly before cutting it into squares, but wait until it's completely cool before removing the bars from the pan.
While the following suggestions for altering the basic granola recipe certainly aren't the only acceptable modifications, at least they've all been tried and proven delicious.
You can also experiment with various other flavorings. For instance, try adding cinnamon with diced dried apples, or a little shredded orange peel with orange juice (but be careful to use no more than half a cup of juice, since too much liquid will make the bars fall apart).
The cost of making these nutrition- and flavor-packed granola bars is less than half that of their store-bought counterparts. But what I like even better than their low cost and high food value is that they're truly delicious — as any snack food (nutritious or otherwise) must be in order to succeed.
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