Chewy Granola Bars
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I worked months on this recipe for Chewy Granola Bars to get it just right. We love it. I hope you will too.
When our daughters were younger, we vacationed nearly every summer in the mountains. One year, I wanted to make most of the food myself. I dried fruits. Made jerky. And worked tirelessly on this granola bar recipe, wanting something that was flavorful, firm, yet chewy, and that would hold together when snacking on it.
Things I Learned Making Granola Bars
Through my experimentation, we determined that we liked having chopped nuts on the bottom of the bar. Usually I’ll combine dry roasted peanuts with almonds, but at Christmastime (because I often give these as gifts) I’ll add in pecans, cashews, English walnuts, or pistachios. Use whatever nuts you like best.
Pick two or three of your favorite dried fruits to use in these bars. Again at Christmas, because I make so many batches, I’ll often pair my nuts with fruits.
For example, one batch may have English walnuts and pecans with apricots and figs. Another might include cashews, pistachios, and chocolate chips with blueberries, and a third batch might have golden raisins and cranberries with peanuts and almonds. Experiment and combine whatever mixture you like best.
We also decided the bars needed a peanut butter topping. This topping helps hold the bar together, which is an added bonus. Not to mention that it just puts these granola bars over-the-top yummy!
Get Your Hands Dirty
When it’s time to mix ingredients, I have found that it works best to get right in there with my hands and work it all up with my fingers. This is the easiest way to incorporate everything, so that the honey mixture fully binds with the oats, flour, and dried fruits. Yes, it’s a messy business. But it works. Your hands will wash.
Press Them Down, Down, Down
A final tip, (and this might be the most important one I share with you) is to repeatedly press the mixture down with a firm spatula. I do this once they are in the pan, and again halfway through the baking process, then a third time after they have finished cooking.
A fourth press comes after cutting them into bars before the peanut butter topping goes on. All of this helps ensure that the bars will hold together and not fall apart when you’re eating them.
Store the finished product in a covered container for up to two months–although I doubt they will last that long. I also like to individually wrap them in either waxed paper, or little plastic snack sacks. This helps keep them fresh and is a nice way to make them grab-and-go-friendly. I’ll send some in my husband’s lunch (He loves them), or I’ll offer them to our daughters when they visit. Sometimes, I’ll throw one in my purse before a long day’s shopping trip.
All-in-all, most folks would probably consider this a complicated, time-consuming recipe. But, once you’ve made these Chewy Granola Bars a time or two, the process will become easier. And it’s so worth it. Your family will thank you. I know mine does–every single time I make them.
And they make wonderful Christmas gifts.
Chewy Granola Bars
- 4 cups Old Fashioned Oats
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup dry milk
- 1/3 cup wheat germ
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup white corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cups dried fruit, chopped apricots, blueberries, cranberries, figs, raisins, etc.
- 1 cup dry roasted peanuts chopped
- 1 cup roasted almonds chopped
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips optional
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl, mix together oats, wheat flour, coconut, dry milk, wheat germ, brown sugar, sunflower seeds, baking soda and salt. Add dried fruit, and again mix well.
- In glass measuring dish combine oil, honey, corn syrup, and vanilla. Add to oat mixture and MIX WELL so that all is blended and sticky. I use my hands for this part to incorporate all of the ingredients.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cover bottom of pan with coarsely chopped almonds and peanuts. May also sprinkle in mini chocolate chips, if desired. Sprinkle granola mixture over nuts and press firmly with a spatula.
- Bake 10 minutes in preheated oven. Take out of oven and again press mixture firmly with a spatula. (Granola will be puffy and soft.) Bake another 7-8 minutes until golden brown. Once more, press bars firmly with metal spatula.
- Cool 10 minutes and cut into bars with a metal bench scraper.
- To make peanut butter coating, in small saucepan combine corn syrup, peanut butter, and brown sugar. Cook over medium-low heat. Stirring constantly, bring mixture to a light boil, which may take up to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and pour over granola bars. Spread to edges, creating a thin coating. Cool completely.
- Turn out onto waxed paper. Using a metal bench scraper, cut bars once more through the peanut butter coating. Store in covered container or in plastic snack bags. Will keep for 1-2 months, if they last that long. Makes 33 bars.
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