Who doesn’t like a good granola bar? They are easy to grab when heading out the door in a rush in the morning with no time for a proper breakfast. They are also great to have in the mid-morning as a pick-me-up treat with our coffee or tea, or, even as a quick snack in the afternoon to tide you over until dinner time.
Most commercial granola bars have a long list of those hard-to-pronounce, not-so-good-for-you ingredients and use fructose and corn syrup which make them excessively sweet. They skimp on the healthy stuff and they often look dry and unappealing. On the other hand, many of those with a decent list of good-for-you ingredients do not taste all that great and sometimes have the consistency of pressed sawdust. All these were good enough reasons for me to start a search to find a recipe for the ultimate healthy and delicious granola bar.
After a couple of experiments, I stumbled upon Ina Garten’s recipe for homemade granola bars that had all the right ingredients and I knew I had to try it. These bars are loaded with dried fruit for natural sweetness, nuts for energy, real oats, wheat germ, and honey. With only a few minor tweaks, I was pretty happy with the results for these perfectly crisp and very tasty granola bars. You will need some time to prep and measure all the ingredients, but once you do, this is a really fun recipe to put together and one that I really hope you try!
- 2 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed (I used unsweetened)
- ½ cup toasted wheat germ (or flaxseed meal)
- 3 TBSP. unsalted butter
- ⅔ cup honey (or a little less)
- 2 TBSP. brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 TBSP. orange zest
- ½ cup pitted dried apricots, chopped finely
- ½ cup pitted dried dates, chopped finely
- ½ cup dried cranberries (or raisins)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Butter an 8×12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Toss the oats, sliced almonds, and coconut together on a large sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.
- Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute and then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the orange zest and the diced dried fruit and then stir well to incorporate.
- Pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish and press well with a silicon spatula first and then with wet fingers until the mixture is packed evenly and as tightly as possible into the pan.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for about 2 hours before cutting into squares. (Use a very sharp knife for this).
These granola bars are very filling, so for me the smaller size is perfect. To store, place in an airtight container at room temperature for a week. You can also store them in the freezer. Granola bars tend to soften at room temperature after a few days.
Step by Step Photo Tutorial: How to make healthy and delicious granola bars
Ingredients for Granola Bars
Toasted oats, almonds and shredded coconut
Mixed ingredients for the granola bars
Granola bar mixture pressed into the pan.
These Healthy and Delicious Granola bars make also a great hostess gift!
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