My kids have always liked granola bars. My oldest, who is nine, could eat them every day. Multiple times a day. When he was small, buying a box of granola bars seemed like such a reasonable thing – a box of eight or ten could last us a week. That’s not a very expensive snack habit.
Along came my middle and youngest children. Fast forward a few years, and we can easily go through a box in one day. Most boxes no longer come with eight or ten, but five or six. For our family of five, that kind of expense for a snack was clearly unreasonable. So I just stopped buying them.
Unfortunately, I found that this was not a great solution. The kids still liked granola bars, and granola bars are very packable for snacks at school or on the go. Not terribly many foods are decently portable – not too messy, not too likely to be crushed to inedibleness, and not likely to cause everyone to need an immediate outfit change.
So I toyed with making my own. I assumed that, given the price of the boxes, this would be an expensive proposition. Then I actually made my own. And let me tell you, they don’t need to be chock-full of everything in the world (dried fruits, nuts, and chocolate) to be good. I tend to stick with one of those add-ins. Here’s my favorite recipe for chocolate chip granola bars.
What you need:
- 4 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/4 c. wheat germ
- 1/2 c. shredded coconut
- 1/3 c. brown sugar
- 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 t. spices (I like apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice; cinnamon would also work)
- 1 t. kosher salt
- 3/8 c. (6 T.) vegetable oil
- 1 t. vanilla (store-bought or homemade)
- 1/2 c. honey
- large mixing bowl and spoon
- small mixing bowl and whisk
- baking sheet
- parchment paper
- bench scraper or knife
Time: Ten minutes active, 30-40 minutes baking.
Freezeable: Yes. I make a batch, leave out enough for a week’s school snacks, and package up the rest to freeze. They’re easy to pull out as necessary, and they thaw quickly.
Serves: Makes 20-30, depending on how you cut them.
Multiplying the recipe: You should make each recipe in a new bowl and bake on a new baking sheet, to ensure the wet ingredients get properly distributed.
Chewy Spiced Chocolate Chip Granola Bars:
In a large bowl, combine the oats, wheat germ, coconut, brown sugar, chocolate chips, spices, and kosher salt. Mix well.
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vanilla, and honey.
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix until everything is evenly incorporated.
Dump the contents of the bowl onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Use your hands to pat the mixture into a large, flat rectangle, about 1″ high.
Bake the bars for 30-40 minutes, until nicely browned. Allow to cool before cutting into square or rectangular bars. Store in an airtight container.