Tips for perfect granola bars:

1. Start with a plain, low-fat, low sugar, granola for best results. If your granola is large or has a lot of big clusters, crush it up. Softer, chewy granola is best. Hard granola will lead to hard bars. This is why I like to make granola from scratch since I can reduce the cooking time to make it softer.

2. Basic Clover honey is best. Other varieties, especially raw honey, may wind up being overpowering.

3. No bake desserts can be quite temperamental. How long you cook the sugar mixture is very important and will be the difference between bars that stick together and ones that don’t. If you don’t cook it long enough the bars will be too soft, if you cook it too long they could be too hard. Set a timer for 2 minutes so you don’t over/under cook it. Stoves will vary, so if your bars come out too soft cook the sugar mixture a bit longer the next time. The goal is to cook it just long enough that all the sugar is dissolved but no more than that.

4. Make sure the dry ingredients are well coated with the sugar mixture. If you add in more ingredients than the recipe calls for (extra nuts, seeds, etc.) reduce the amount of granola and rice cereal to compensate. Everything should start sticking together as soon as you add the sugar mixture to the dry ingredients.

5. Use a sturdy spatula to spread the mixture into the pan and press down firmly to make sure the ingredients will sufficiently stick together. The bars should always be pressed to about 1/2 – 3/4 inch thick. You don’t want them thinner or they could be too soft. I always use two 9×5 loaf pans which are the perfect size and also makes them easier to cut up. I’ve been told the 13×9 pan that the original recipe called for is too large, so if you are using that size pan I would recommend increasing the ingredients by 1 1/2 or even doubling the recipe.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bars

adapted from Rachel Ray

Snack, Dessert | Servings: 18 servings
Prep time: 0 | Cook time: 5 min | Total time: 25 min

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar or brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cups plain granola
  • 1 cup rice cereal (Rice Krispies, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter chips

Process

  1. Line two 9×5 loaf pans or one 11×7 inch baking pan (see tip #4 above if you want to use 9×13) with foil or parchment. Lightly butter or spray the foil.
  2. Combine butter, honey and brown sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the butter is melted.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sugar is dissolved, 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
  4. Add the granola and rice cereal into the saucepan and fold them into the sauce until evenly coated.
  5. Spread the mixture into the prepared pans and press firmly with a spatula to evenly fill. Sprinkle the chocolate and peanut butter chips onto the top of the granola and gently press them down with the spatula.
  6. Let sit for 15-20 minutes or until mostly cooled and set*; lift out of the pan and cut into bars.

*Recipe Note: If the bars are sticky but not quite holding together, place them in the fridge to harden for 10-15 minutes. I’ve noticed that on very warm days, the bars don’t always harden at room temperature, this is especially true if you use brown rice syrup.

Lower sugar version: Use low-sugar granola (see nutrition info below for recipe) and low-sugar brown rice cereal (found online and in health food stores). Reduce brown sugar and honey to 2 tablespoons each. If possible, replace brown sugar with brown rice syrup. Omit 2 tbsp. granola. Omit peanut butter chips, use 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips instead of regular size.

 

S’mores Chewy Granola Bars

adapted from Rachel Ray

Snack, Dessert | Servings: 18 servings
Prep time: 0 | Cook time: 5 min | Total time: 25 min

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar or brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cups plain granola
  • 1 cup rice cereal (Rice Krispies, etc.)
  • 2 tbsp. graham cracker crumbs (optional)
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Process

  1. Line two 9×5 loaf pans or one 11×7 inch baking pan (see tip #4 above if you want to use 9×13) with foil or parchment. Lightly butter or spray the foil.
  2. Combine butter, honey and brown sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the butter is melted.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sugar is dissolved, 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
  4. Add the granola, rice cereal and graham cracker crumbs into the saucepan and fold them into the sauce until evenly coated. Very gently fold in the marshmallows.
  5. Spread the mixture into the prepared pans and press firmly with a spatula to evenly fill. Sprinkle the chocolate chips onto the top of the granola and gently press them down.
  6. Let sit for 15-20 minutes or until mostly cooled and set*; lift out of the pan and cut into bars.

*Recipe Note: If the bars are sticky but not quite holding together, place them in the fridge to harden for 10-15 minutes. I’ve noticed that on very warm days, the bars don’t always harden at room temperature, this is especially true if you use brown rice syrup.

 

Oatmeal Raisin Chewy Granola Bars

adapted from Rachel Ray

Snack, Dessert | Servings: 18 servings
Prep time: 0 | Cook time: 5 min | Total time: 25 min

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar or brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 cups plain granola
  • 1 cup rice cereal (Rice Krispies, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Process

  1. Line two 9×5 loaf pans or one 11×7 inch baking pan (see tip #4 above if you want to use 9×13) with foil or parchment. Lightly butter or spray the foil.
  2. Combine butter, honey, brown sugar and cinnamon in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the butter is melted.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
  4. Add the granola, rice cereal and raisins into the saucepan and fold them into the sauce until evenly coated.
  5. Spread the mixture into the prepared pans and press firmly with a spatula to evenly fill.
  6. Let sit for 15-20 minutes or until mostly cooled and set*; lift out of the pan and cut into bars.

*Recipe Note: If the bars are sticky but not quite holding together, place them in the fridge to harden for 10-15 minutes. I’ve noticed that on very warm days, the bars don’t always harden at room temperature, this is especially true if you use brown rice syrup.

 

Applesauce Granola

adapted from Fake Ginger

Snack | Yield: 3 cups
Prep time: 10 min | Cook time: 45 min | Total time: 55 min

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar* (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil or coconut oil
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees (F). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small saucepan, warm the applesauce, brown sugar (if using), honey, and oil over low heat.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl stir together oats, cinnamon and salt.
  4. Stir the applesauce mixture into the oats, making sure everything is evenly coated.
  5. Spread onto baking sheet in a thin, even layer. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool completely.

*Recipe Note: If you’re using this granola exclusively for granola bars and want to reduce the amount of sugar in them, omit the brown sugar. This will help if you find the bars too sweet otherwise.

 

Nutrition info:

All values are calculated using the above Applesauce granola recipe.

These have 20-30 more calories and 1-2 more grams of fat than the store bought version, but I think they’re still worth it since you’re removing the unnecessary chemicals and preservatives.


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bars
Serving size: 1 bar
Calories: 121
Fat: 5
Carbohydrates: 18g
Fiber: 1g
Protein: 2g


Low Sugar Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bars
Serving size: 1 bar
Calories: 96
Fat: 4
Carbohydrates: 14g
Fiber: 1g
Protein: 1g


S’mores Chewy Granola Bars
Serving size: 1 bar
Calories: 131
Fat: 5
Carbohydrates: 21g
Fiber: 1g
Protein: 1.5g


Oatmeal Raisin Chewy Granola Bars
Serving size: 1 bar
Calories: 111
Fat: 3.5
Carbohydrates: 19g
Fiber: 1g
Protein: 1.5g

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