My kids love granola bars, and it’s a snack that I love giving them. Sure, they have honey and syrup in them, but they also have whole grains and dried fruit. As snacks go (especially snacks that my kids beg for) it’s the clear winner.
My favorites to buy were always the Quaker Chewy Oatmeal Raisin granola bars. These homemade versions are a great replacement–chewy and full of flavor, without the high price tag or the questionable ingredients. And when you make your own, you can easily accommodate common allergies or diets. This recipe is already nut-free (important for my family), but could be made gluten free by using Gluten Free Rice Krispies.
What you need:
For the Granola*:
- 1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce
- 2 t. honey
- 2 t. olive oil
- 2 c. old-fashioned oats (not quick-cooking)
- 1/2 t. cinnamon
- 1/4 t. salt
For the Bars:
- Prepared granola (about 2 c.)
- 4 T. unsalted butter
- 1/4 c. brown rice syrup
- 1/4 c. honey
- 1/2 t. cinnamon
- 1 c. Rice Krispies
- 1/2 c. raisins
*For the record, I only make this granola to use in the granola bars. It is very plain. When I want granola on its own, I make this.
- baking sheet
- parchment paper
- small and large saucepans
- large mixing bowl
- 2 9×5 loaf pans
- measuring spoons and cups
- cutting board and sharp knife
Time: About 2 hours: 10 minutes prep, 45 baking time, 10 minutes mixing, 1 hour chilling (If you don’t have the time to devote 2 hours all at once, you can make the plain granola, set it aside in a sealed container, and then come back later to finish the bars–spoken from personal experience!)
Freezeable: Yes! I usually leave 8-10 in the fridge, with the rest in the freezer ready to refill!
Serves: Makes 16
Multiplying the recipe: Yes! I usually make a triple batch, because it takes the same amount of time for prep and then I have a large back-stock of granola bars in the freezer. When you have 5 people who will eat them at almost any opportunity, the back-stock comes in handy! Since I don’t have SIX 9×5 pans, I use two 9×5 loaf pans and one 9×13 pan.
Oatmeal Raisin Granola Bars:
For the Granola:
Preheat oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Warm the applesauce, 2 t. honey, and 2 t. olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Do not let it boil.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, 1/2 t. cinnamon, and salt evenly. Stir the warmed applesauce mixture into the dry ingredients until evenly coated. Pour onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes so that it is evenly toasted.
For the Bars:
Line two 9×5 loaf pans with parchment paper and spray lightly with oil. Heat butter, brown rice syrup, 1/4 c. honey, and 1/2 t. cinnamon in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until butter is melted. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the prepared granola, Rice Krispies, and raisins. Stir until evenly coated. Divide the mixture between the two prepared pans. Smash the ingredients down flat with the bottom of a measuring cup (spray it lightly with oil to prevent sticking). Use some strength! The more pressure you can use in this step, the better the bars will hold together. Refrigerate the pans until the bars are set, at least 1 hour.
Once ready, lift from the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan onto a cutting board. Using a sharp knife (I use our serrated bread knife), cut the bars straight across the width to make 16 bars that are each about 1×5 inches. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.