23 August 2009

Back to School Granola Bars

I always thought I was giving my girls a healthy treat when I would pack granola bars in their school lunches, especially the ones touted as "low sugar." Then the warnings came out about high fructose corn syrup and moms starting checking food labels with a vengeance. It turns out that you might have a hard time finding a granola bar without the stuff. Even the Fiber One bars that I used to have for breakfast are loaded with it. And now that I know, I can't let my kids eat that junk, so I make my own. This recipe is easy, super tasty, and completely void of corn syrup. Best part of all, the girls love them!

You will need:

2 cups oats (sometimes I substitute Multi-Grain Cheerios)
3/4 cup wheat germ
1 cup crushed peanuts
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
4 T Smart Balance
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
6-8 oz dried fruit (your choice)
1/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Line a jelly roll pan with foil (or any cookie sheet with sides). No need to grease it, just spread out the oats and wheat germ.

Crush your peanuts. I like to use low sodium dry roasted peanuts, but you can use any type of peanut or nut that you like. I use my mini chopper to chop up the peanuts, but you can crush them in a plastic bag using a cup.

Add the peanuts to the oats and wheat germ and mix.

Toast them in the oven for 10 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes and checking two minutes early. You don't want the wheat germ to burn. After they are done you can turn off the oven.

Line a 9x13 inch glass baking pan with wax paper. Grease the paper with a little cooking spray and set aside.

Add your toasted mix to a large bowl and pour in fruit of choice. I like to use a 6 oz bag of mixed fruit.

Add the brown sugar, honey, butter, vanilla, and salt to a saucepan.

Melt over medium low heat...

until the mixture comes to a simmer or low, low boil. Remove from heat when you see the first little bubbles coming to the surface.

Pour your yummy sugar mixture into the bowl over the fruit and oats.

Stir and make sure that everything is evenly coated.

Now the chocolate chips!!

Drop your granola bar mixture into your greased and lined 9x13 pan.

Spread evenly to all sides.

Cover with another sheet of wax paper and press down hard. You aren't going to bake these, so you need to press them into shape so they won't fall apart.

Leave the wax paper on top and set aside to cool and set for 2 hours. Then remove top sheet of paper and use the bottom sheet to pick up the entire giant bar and put it on a cutting board or your counter top.

I make four cuts lengthwise

and three width wise.

I get 2 to 3 weeks of granola bars this way. It depends on how many times a week they take them. It's usually around four times a week for both girls.

They are moist, but not too moist. Chewy, not overly sweet, and I can feel good about giving them to the girls. The first time I gave these to them Tink ate 3 and Goose ate 2.

I wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap. That way I can just drop one in their lunch sack.

I keep them in a Ziploc fresh shield freezer bag in the freezer. They are completely thawed by lunchtime for the kids. On the weekends I'll take out a few and keep them in the cupboard for a quick snack.

Try different nuts, fruit, and grains. You really can't go wrong! And give yourself a pat on the back for giving your kids a granola bar you made from scratch with NO corn syrup.


my recipe card:

Granola Bars

See Granola Bars on Key Ingredient.


janet said...

I too am very picky about processed foods and carefully read labels. I make most things from scratch, but I haven't done granola bars yet. Yours look tasty and simple, I thing I'll have to try them, thanks!

TheChocolatePriestess said...

My partner likes granola. I wonder if he'd like to learn to make these?

Jessie said...

yum! I've been thinking about making some granola bars but I didn't know how exactly to go about and make them. Your recipe seems so easy to make and very tasty too.

CheapAppetite said...

thanks for sharing. I love granola bar that's not overly sweet too. Yours would be perfect!

PMP said...

OMG... can I have some?

Sunshine Mom said...

well, PMP, you do have a birthday coming up! :)

Ricardo said...

very delicious not sure about blue wrapper ...but is all good lol love Rico|Recipes

Chris Stewart said...

I'm going to have to try this out and maybe experiment with it a little. I think I'll try and make a super healthy batch and a super unhealthy batch.

Michelle said...

I am making these tomorrow to add to my daughter's Laptop Lunchbox! Thanks!


Brittani M said...

I added white chocolate chips and they tasted soooo good@!