Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Granola Bars a.k.a ridiculously delicious bars!

I was going to save this post for a later date, but these are too delicious not to share right away!

I really love granola bars, I used to keep a box or two in my desk at work, a variety of brands and flavours in my cupboard at home, and usually had one in the bottom of my purse. But a couple of years ago gave them up after a dietician told me I was consuming to many daily calories in these oh so delicious snacks that were filled with sugar but disguised as a healthy snack. I left her office thinking to myself that she was crazy and didn't know what she was talking about...... but finally admitted she was right.

I`ve considered making my own on numerous occasions but didn`t actually follow through on that thought until recently.  I took inspiration from the Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten`s recipe. If you aren`t familiar with Ina I highly recommend checking her out, I have tried many of her recipes and they always turn out deliciously.

Here is my adaptation of Ina`s Homemade Granola Bars:
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped or sliced almonds
1/2 cup ground flax
1/3 cup honey
3 tbsp organic peanut butter, smooth or crunchy
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp splenda brown sugar (or 4 tbsp regular brown sugar)
1 cup dried fruit (I used cranberries and apricots)

Preheat oven to 350.  Spread oats and almonds on a baking sheet and pop in the oven for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven, and reduce over heat to 300. Combine oats and almonds with ground flax in a bowl. 
In a sauce pan over medium heat combine honey, peanut butter, vanilla, coconut oil, and brown sugar.  Cook together until its well blended and smooth.  Remove from heat and pour over oats, almonds and flax.  Add in dried fruit and stir well to combine.  Pour into the bottom of a 9x9 pan lined with foil or parchment.  Bake for 30 minutes. 

Allow the pan to cool for a few hours to bring to room temperature before cutting.  If you cut them too soon they`ll be really crumbly, letting them sit allows them to firm and easily cut into bars, I tell you this from experience as I couldn't wait to give them a taste and the little square crumbled all over the place.  Store in an air tight container.

There are a lot of options for substitutions here.  You can use cashews, pecans, walnuts, or any other nut in place of almondss.  You can use different dried fruit such as dates or figs.  Or add in any of your other favourite granola bar ingredients like shredded coconut, dark chocolate, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, etc. These could easily be made peanut free by using maple syrup, or another nut butter in place of peanut butter, my niece is a peanut free kid, so I'm always thinking about ways to make recipes safe for her.

I have to admit, this recipe might have to be one that I reserve for when I have guests or for occasions of sharing because they are so good its really hard to not stop at just one.  I think I can hear my dieticians voice now.  


  1. It was so great to come in to work and start the morning with one of these granola bars. So good, so good, so good, yum!

  2. I've been wanting to try these for awhile and finally picked up some coconut oil, so the time has come! I don't have ground flax though, do you have any recommendations for substitutes?

    1. No need to substitute anything for ground flax, just a good way of getting some extra fibre in. :)
      Doesn't hurt to add a tbsp of butter though, I found that helped keep them together a bit better in my second batch.