How to make homemade granola bars

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Healthy, energy-dense snacks are the perfect pick-me-up during the work or school day and provide a nutritional boost of energy, which improves focus and endurance. While nutrition may be easier to accomplish when preparing a sit-down meal, it is often difficult to achieve during a snack when you grab food on the go. What can you eat from portable, delicious and healthy? Look no further than these homemade granola bars. Snacking has never tasted so good or felt.

The beauty of homemade granola bars is that you can choose your ingredients, omitting excess sugars, fats, and additives without sacrificing flavor. While these bars aren’t entirely sin free, they’re packed with nutrient-dense oats, almonds, and dried fruits. Each bar provides a welcome dose of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which should justify preparing a snack batch.

This recipe is inspired by a proven granola bar recipe from Ina Garten. I’ve kept its dry and wet ingredient ratios roughly the same to make sure the bars stick together, which can be a challenge with granola bars. This recipe takes a look at maple and cinnamon, which I love in granola. For a gluten-free version, use gluten-free oats.

Homemade Granola Bars

Yield: Makes about 18-24 small bars

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup chopped raw almonds
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened grated coconut
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed dried fruits, such as chopped apricots, cranberries and cherries

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 x 11-inch pan and line with parchment paper.

2. Combine the oatmeal, almonds and coconut in a bowl. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until fragrant and lightly toasted, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a large bowl. Incorporate the almond flour.

3. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.

4. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the sugar and syrup, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

5. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Pour over the oatmeal, stirring to combine well. Incorporate the dried fruits.

6. Pour batter into prepared pan and roll out to distribute evenly, pressing gently.

7. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove and let cool completely in pan until stiff, at least 2 hours. Cut into squares or rectangles. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Lynda Balslev is an award-winning food and wine writer, cookbook author and recipe developer. She is also the author of the TasteFood blog, a compilation of over 600 original recipes, photos and stories.

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