My husband loves his granola bars, so much so he would buy a ton of them at the store in bulk (at one point in his life). I started to read the ingredients for most of these bars and disliked the fact that I couldn't pronounce half the items that these 'healthy' bars were made of. I knew I could make something he enjoyed with healthier ingredients and at a more cost effective price.
I tried a few recipes before determining that this one was the winner. These granola bars are made from simple ingredients, are slightly sweet and salty, and only take about 20 minutes to prepare. Feel free to incorporate your favorite nuts or dried fruit into your version. I have included a few of my faves below. Enjoy!
You will need the following utensils in preparation:
9 inch square baking pan
One mixing bowl
Oil or spray
Yield: 10 bars
Time to Prep: 10 min / Cook time: 6 -10 minutes
1/2 cup dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries, cherries, or apricots are my favorite)
3 tablespoons water
1/2 cup runny mild honey
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 cups old-fashioned rilled oats
3/4 cup nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, or cashews are my favorite)
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom or cardamom seeds
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup ground golden flaxseed
Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Line bottom and sides with foil or parchment; spray again.
Place dried fruits and water in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave on high until water is bubbling, about 1 minute. Stir well to ensure fruits evenly absorb water and soften while they cool.
Combine honey, oil, and sugar in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until sugar dissolves and mixture starts to bubble about 3-5 minutes depending on your stove.
Add oats, nuts, cardamom, and salt; cook stirring occasionally until oats and nuts are a golden brown, about 3 - 5 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and fold in fruits with any remaining liquid and flaxseed until evenly distributed.
Immediately transfer mixture to prepared pan and spread in an even layer. Using a spatula, press mixture firmly and evenly into pan.
Let mixture cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Lift bars out of pan using sides of foil or parchment. Cut in half, then cut into fifths crosswise to form 10 bars.
For best results, place bars in a plastic container and store in your refrigerator.
Original recipe modified from the Health Magazine, November 2016