Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Homemade Granola Bars

I made these granola bars on Saturday evening and I have had one every day since as a snack because they are so good! I found the recipe from a cute blog called Bless This Mess and you can see it HERE.
Start by spreading 2 1/2 cups of old fashioned rolled oats and 1/2 cup of roughly chopped nuts of your choice out over a baking sheet. Two notes - I used gluten free oats because my mama is Gluten Free and the recipe worked great! And I used sliced almonds, but you could use any kind of nut you like! Bake the oats and the nuts for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and transfer them to a medium mixing bowl.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 1/4 cup of honey, 1/4 cup of butter and 1/3 cup of brown sugar. Stir these ingredients together until the butter melts and everything is stirred together.

***I'm looking into taking the butter and sugar out of this recipe - do any of you have suggestions about this? Could I replace the butter & sugar with peanut butter?
Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

Then, pour the mixture right into the bowl that has the toasted oats and nuts in it. Don't worry about giving the honey/butter/sugar time to cool, just mix it right in!
Then add in 3/4 cups of any extra mix-ins you would like in your granola bars. I added in 1/4 cup of chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds, 2 tablespoons chia seeds, 2 tablespoons of peanuts and 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds. I recommend giving the mixture a couple minutes to cool before stirring in chocolate, otherwise the chocolate will just melt.

So the key is you need to add a total of 3/4 cup of extra things. These extra things are entirely up to you though - you could add more nuts, chocolate, different seeds, dried fruits, coconut and really whatever else you like.
Alright, here is where I totally stray from the original recipe... The original recipe recommends pressing the bars into a 9x9 inch square, so you could do that and then let the bare solidify for 2 hours in the fridge.

But, here is what I did: I rolled the bars out on waxed paper so that they were about a half an inch thick. I didn't measure how wide by how long the bars were, I just kind of did it by feeling. I rolled them out as thin as I could. I used a separate piece of waxed paper to press the bars down and square the edges. Once the bars are rolled out, set them in the fridge to solidify for about 2 hours.

Then, I used a pizza cutter (One of those round knives that are usually used to cut pizza - do they have a name?) to cut the bars into 18 granola bars. I wrapped each bar in saran wrap and left them in the fridge until we need them.

And that's it! I was surprised to find that these bars were EASY and delicious!! They are such a great a snack to grab on the go and I love how much variety they offer!

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (I used sliced almonds)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup butter
1/3 brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup extra mix-ins (chocolate, nuts, coconut, dried fruit...)

1. Spread the oats and the chopped nuts out over a baking sheet and bake them for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Once they're baked, transfer them to a medium mixing bowl.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine honey, butter and sugar just until the butter is melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add in the vanilla and salt. Immediately pour the mixture into the bowl with the toasted oats and nuts in it and mix it in.
3. Mix in up to 3/4 cup of other ingredients - if you are adding in chocolate, give the mixture a couple minutes to cool so that it doesn't melt the chocolate.
4. Press the granola bars into a greased 9x9 inch dish and chill for 2 hours before cutting. OR Roll the granola bars out on waxed paper until they are about 1/2 and inch thick. Then set the rolled out bars in the fridge to solidify for 2 hours.
5. Remove the bars from the fridge and cut them into smaller granola bars. Wrap your bars in saran wrap and store them in the fridge until you are ready to eat them.

Let me know if you try these and love them!

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