Homemade chewy granola bars are an incredibly easy recipe that can serve as a tasty, healthy breakfast, snack, or even a health-conscious dessert.
By Bowen Close
Consider this recipe your new secret weapon. Chewy granola bars are an incredibly easy recipe that can serve as a tasty, healthy breakfast, snack, or even a health-conscious dessert (depending on what sorts of delicious little bits you want to sneak inside).
Maybe you aren’t as excited by chewy granola bars as I am, but let’s just say I have to limit the circumstances in which I bake these because if I leave myself more than a few in the house I end up stuffing myself silly.
When I was about 7, I decided I needed to start training for adulthood. (If you know me, you’re not surprised about this.) I just wasn’t quite sure how I would magically acquire all the necessary skills unless I started training myself – so I started “drinking coffee” with my mom in the morning. I say “drinking coffee” because what this actually meant was drinking hot chocolate and eating a Quaker chewy granola bar, since it was many more years before I considered coffee a palatable liquid.
Those granola bars were a big part of my life for many years. Breakfast-time, lunch-time, snack-time. As far as I was concerned, they made it possible for me to eat chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and even marshmallows at times of day I wouldn’t usually get to eat dessert, and thus they were extremely valuable.
Now I see chewy granola bars in a slightly different way – an easy-to-make, easy-to-eat (read: perfect for new parents and people who eat on the go), easy-to-ship (yes, I’ve sent them as gifts many times), incredibly tasty little bite to have around the house. Much healthier than those Quaker bars I used to eat to be a grown up – and much tastier, too.
- 2 cups (160 g) oats
- ½ cup (96 g) sugar
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. cinnamon or other spices as desired (cardamom, nutmeg, etc.)
- 2½ cups additions: dried fruits, seeds, nuts, flax meal, bran cereal, puffed rice cereal, crushed pretzels, chocolate chips ... the combinations are endless!
- ⅓ cup (60 g) peanut or other nut butter
- 6 Tbsp. (89 ml) olive oil - canola oil, other oils, and melted butter will work here as well
- ¼ cup (60 ml) honey, maple syrup, or Agave syrup
- 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) water
- Preheat oven to 350F. Depending on desired thickness, line a square (8x8 or 9x9) or rectangular (9x13) baking dish with parchment paper, then lightly grease the paper with non-stick cooking spray, oil, or butter. Thicker bars are a little more decadent, if you're planning on using this as a dessert.
- Process ⅓ cup (27 g) of the oats in a blender or food processor until finely ground.
- If necessary, chop up dried fruit and nuts. Raisin-size pieces are fine, but dried apricots, or apples, let's say - should probably be chopped.
- Stir together all dry ingredients (oats, ground oats, sugar, salt, cinnamon, fruits/nuts/seeds).
- Whisk together wet ingredients - oil, honey, peanut butter, and water.
- Mix together the wet and dry ingredients, then spread in the pan. Press firmly into the corners and edges so the top is even.
- Bake for around 30 minutes, until the top starts to brown. Thicker bars will likely take longer, so you'll need to watch them, depending on how much batter you've spread in what size pan. The edges will become deep golden and they may feel underdone in the center, but that's okay. They'll firm quite nicely as they cool.
- Let cool in the pan on a cooling rack for at least 20 minutes, then take them out of the pan using the parchment. Let cool completely before cutting.
Bowen Close believes that food should make people happy and healthy, and loves bringing together people with creative, delicious food made from the heart. She loves making farm-inspired, flavorful dishes with sustainable ingredients - whether that's a big plate of roasted veggies, a towering chocolate layer cake, or a cocktail utilizing backyard ingredients - and collects recipes and other food-related stories on her website, Bowen Appétit. She is a chef, cooking instructor, and food writer living in Southern California with her husband and fully stocked pantry.