I don’t know about you, but I need snacks between meals to get me through the day. As Jeff will tell you, I don’t get hungry, I get “hangry” (that would be hungry and angry for those of you not familiar with this term). I always eat breakfast and usually have a late morning snack around 11am before lunch around 1pm. I may or may not have an afternoon snack, depending on how well I packed my lunch. My go-to snack is a banana. I love them, and they are so good for you. But sometimes you want something a little chewy, or maybe a little sweet, and granola bars are a great choice, especially when they’re made with so many good, whole ingredients like these. I used to keep those Oats & Honey two-packs in my desk drawer, but now I pack these with my lunch in the morning (I find they are best kept refrigerated – they get a little soft with the honey in them).
I’ve made this recipe 3 or 4 times now and I’ve learned a few things and tweaked the recipe below. The original calls for just rolled oats – I’ve used old-fashioned oats and thick rolled oats and both seem to work well (just don’t use quick cooking – they’re cut too small). But I find the oats aren’t quite enough to bind together the honey and oil and form a firm bar. Don’t get me wrong – they’re delicious – just crumbly, and very sticky. A great solution is the addition of nuts (have a nut allergy? You could try sunflower seeds or maybe even just increase the amount of oats used). I found sliced almonds work great. You only need a handful mixed in to form a firmer bar. And I always put dried fruit in mine to add an extra punch of flavor. Enjoy!
No Bake Granola Bars
(modified from a recipe on Live Simply)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (real butter can be substituted)
- 1/2 cup raw honey
- 1 tsp. organic vanilla extract
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/8 cup flax seed, milled or whole
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds (or other nuts or seeds)
- 1/4 cup good-quality mini chocolate chips
- 1-2 TB fresh ground peanut or almond butter (optional)
- handful dried fruit (optional)
Heat your stove top to medium heat.
To a saucepan over medium heat, add your coconut oil and honey. Stir to melt and combine.
The oil and honey will start to bubble. When you see this, keep watch as it will soon take on a nice amber color, but do not let it get to dark or you will have made candy.
Once you get a nice rolling bubble, let it go for about 30 seconds to a minute and then turn off your heat and add your vanilla.
Add in the oats, flax seed, dried fruit, nuts and optional peanut butter. Stir together until combined.
Line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper (be sure to have some extra hanging off both sides).
Pour in the oat mixture. Using the back of a spatula press down about 1/2 inch until mixture is smooth (RRFR found that using your hands, inside a plastic baggie, worked especially well. Be sure to press down firmly to pack the oats together).
Sprinkle chocolate chips over oat mixture. Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes to cool.
The cutting process: Remove the pan from the fridge. Use the extra parchment hanging off sides as handles to pull your entire granola out of the pan and place on counter. It will be a solid piece. Cut width-wise into one-inch sections. Then one long cut down the center of the pan. This will allow for 12 individual servings all equal size. Note: This recipe can easily be doubled for 24 using a 9×13 pan.
RRFR Note: I followed the original instructions when I made these this week and TOTALLY forgot to add the nuts, so my bars, as you can see above, are a little soft and loose (and so good that I already ate one…). Not to worry. They still make a delicious sticky snack on their own. Or you can do what I did this morning for breakfast, and crumble one into locally-made Greek yogurt with a sprinkle of chia seeds and a drizzle of local honey.
Here’s a picture of the granola bars (pre-cutting) the first time I made them. I sprinkled the dried fruit on one half and the chocolate chips on both sides. You can mix up your toppings to make a variety of options in one batch.
Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.