Jun 9, 2013

Fruit and Nut Granola Bars

Granola Bars: Baked 3Granola bars seem to always be that go to snack that we automatically put  in the “healthy” category. But, when you start reading the back of the package on some of these bars you find yourself completely shocked at how un-healthy some of them actually are. The ingredient list can be a mile long with half of the things being weird words you can’t even pronounce and then the other half are the ones that taste so good because you find out they are chocked full of sugar. Of course those are going to taste good! It feels like I’ve tried a million kinds of granola bars and the only ones that seem to have met all my requirements are the KIND bars. But even with these I’ve been wanting to try out some homemade recipes and now that I’ve finally got a little extra time I’ve been able to do just that. After searching for a recipe that also wasn’t completely reliant on loads of sugar and other ingredients that would weigh me down and require an extra work out, I think I’ve found a great granola bar recipe! It’s full of all natural ingredients, lots of nuts and high protein foods, and dried fruit. Even better, you just need a food processor to put these together and you’re in granola bar making business!

Here’s what you need:


(Adapted from Ellie KriegerMakes about 18 granola bars.)

  • 1 cup quick cooking rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (salted or unsalted)
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup powdered nonfat dry milk
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup pitted dried dates
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and use cooking spray to coat the inside of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

There are just a few steps to these bars and they boil down to throwing dry ingredients in the food processor, pulsing, adding the wet ingredients, pulsing, spreading into pan, baking, and the best part, eating! So start by adding all the dry ingredients (oats through dried dates in the ingredient list) into your food professor.

Granola Bars: dry ingredients

There’s really no particular order you have to add things, as the food processor will eventually get it all!

Granola Bars: Dry Ingredients 2


Once all the dry ingredients are in, start pulsing the mixture. I did this quite a few times to help get things started and then I just turned the food processor on until everything was finely chopped. You don’t want it completely smooth but you also don’t want the mixture to still have large, whole nuts.

Granola Bars: Dry Ingredients Mixed


Pour in the maple syrup and add the two eggs and begin to pulse the mixture again. You want to do this until everything comes together almost into a thick paste like mixture. I found that up until a certain point (after just a few pulses) my food processor was slowing down and was not a fan of having to twist and turn the wet, thick mixture. It became the little food processor that could! At that point, I called the granola bars mixed and ready for the oven!

Granola Bars: Wet Ingredients Added



Pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish and using your hands, just spread the mixture out. You might think at some points that you don’t have enough to cover the whole baking dish but you will! Just keep working it, especially from the center where it tends to be more thick and make sure to work your way into those corners really well! You also might find that getting your hands wet will help you spread the mixture out. Sometimes the mixture can become so sticky that you spread it out and lift your hands only to pull half of it up with your hands. So frustrating!

Granola Bars: Pre-Baked


Once you have it all spread out, pop it in the oven and let it cook for 20-25 minutes. The edges and top should become a light golden brown and the edges in particular will start to pull away from the sides.

Granola Bars: Baked


Let the bars sit for another 20 minutes or so until you cut into them.

Granola Bars: Baked 2


I always find that the waiting time after the goodie has come out of the oven is really the hardest. But for these in particular, if you cut them too soon you will have more of a mound of granola bar ingredients rather than an actual whole granola bar. If you like a really crunchy granola bar, like the Nature Valley kind, you might consider leaving the bars in the oven a little longer. The way I’ve prepared these, they are more moist in the center with a crunchy exterior. They also give you a faint reminder of a Fig Newton almost, which is why I think you could even eat them as part of your breakfast and not just as a mid-morning or afternoon snack.

Granola Bars Complete


I’m also thinking of switching things up the next time I make these. The best part about them is that when it comes to the dried fruit and nuts it’s all about your favorites! Just stick to the same measurements but add what tastes and sounds good to you. Not a fan of raisins? Try dried cranberries. Jor has already requested that peanuts make an appearance in the next batch. I’m also thinking that if you want to make something similar to the Chewy chocolate chip granola bars you could fold in some mini chocolate chips after you add the egg and maple syrup. So many different variations of this granola bar and all oh so good! Plus, you know exactly what went into your granola bar and it only took about 15 minutes to put together! For now, that’s fruit and nut granola bars…in the shell of a nut!


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