It’s a challenge to find a healthy snack, something that tastes good and satisfies your hunger. Of course, granola bars come to mind immediately as a healthy, portable snack however many of them either don’t taste so great or they are filled with unnecessary sugars. That puts the ‘healthy’ granola bar in line with a candy bar. Not healthy.
I have been making my own granola for years, why on earth I never actually took things a step further and made granola bars is beyond me. But the time has come. Healthy snack desperation has led me here.
I set out to make a tasty bar that doesn’t have much sugar in it – the only sweetener is from honey and the dried fruit. No other sugar is added to these bars. I remember that Ina Garten had made granola bars so I decided to consult her recipe first. She’s my go-to girl. But as many of us know, my go-to girl loves butter and sugar! So this recipe is based on hers (loosely). I made several adjustments.
These granola bars are mostly crunchy yet slightly chewy – a perfect mix. They crumble just a bit and are not overly sweet. In fact, they are not really sweet at all. Just satisfying.
The next time you want to reach for a healthy snack, grab one of these babies!
Here’s what you will need to make approximately 12 bars…
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal (not instant)
3/4 cup sliced almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
2/3 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cup chopped dried fruit such as cranberries, apricots & raisins
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8×10 baking dish with cooking spray and then line with parchment paper, leaving some extra paper hanging over the edges.
Toss the oatmeal, almonds, walnuts and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 12 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.
While the oatmeal mixture is toasting, gather your dried fruit and chop into small pieces (apricots).
Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
Place the honey, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl and whisk together. Pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dried fruit and stir well.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Now it’s time to press down the mixture. I find the best method is using a scrap piece of parchment paper and just press down on it with your entire palm. Keep pressing until the mixture is tightly packed. Don’t neglect the corners.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until medium golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. (Best to use a serrated knife, gently sawing back and forth. Try not to press straight down). Serve at room temperature.
I individually wrap each bar in plastic wrap and store in an air tight container. The bars will soften up a touch once stored this way.