If you are anything like me, you are starting to go a little stir crazy stuck at home.
When I get stressed out or need something to calm me or keep the kids busy, I usually turn to my kitchen. This week I made some pretty easy homemade granola bars and thought I would share the recipe. Before you ask- yes, they have sugar in them. The honey and brown sugar help them stick together plus....they taste good. I would much rather have a homemade bar with sugar and only a few ingredients I control in them than something with all sorts of unnecessary stuff mixed in just to help it last on the shelf a little longer.
I use a pretty basic recipe but you can change it up just by swapping out the nuts and add-ins so these can be exactly what you are craving on any given day.
Here is the basic recipe:
2 1/2 Cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
1/2 Cup Chopped Nuts (I have used Peanuts, Pecans and Almonds with equal success)
1/4 Cup Raw Honey
1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter
1/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 Cup Add-In's (any combination you like- I suggest 1/2 cup chocolate chips or 1/4 cup each dried cranberries and coconut flakes, or any variety of additional chopped nuts, and dried fruits)
Preheat the oven to 350F
Toast the rolled oats and chopped nuts for about 10 minutes
While the oats are toasting, add the honey, butter, and sugar to a small saucepan and heat until the sugar is toatlly dissolved.
Once the sugar mixture is smooth, remove it from the heat and add in the vanilla and salt and then stir it into the toasted oats and mix until well incorporated.
Now is the time to stir in those add in's BUUUUUUT- if you are using chocolate chips let the mixture cool first so the chocolate doesn't melt. (you can see how gloppy my chocolate looks because I was impatient!)
While you wait for that to cool a bit line a 13x9 pan with foil and spray lightly with non stick cooking spray (trust me- this is an important step)
Press the mixture down tightly into the pan sprinkle with a touch of additional Kosher Salt if desired (salty and sweet...yes please!)
and then refridgerate them for at least 2 hours
When you pull them out I like to use a warm large knife to cut them into bars and then store in an airtight container in the fridge to help them stay fresh longer.
* Yes, you will break some....but they will still be delicious! I like to collect all my crumbles into a small jar and use them to top smoothie bowls or yogurt for an extra yummy meal or snack through the week.
In case I bored you with all those words here are some pictures to help:
Toast the oats and nuts for 8-10 minutes
Heat the sugar, butter and honey until melted and smooth
Remove from heat, add in vanilla and salt and then pour over the oats and nuts to incorporate
Let cool before adding chocolate chips, then stir in add-ins of your choosing andpress into a foil lined pan
Refridgerate for at least 2 hours
Cut and enjoy!