Crispy Baked Homemade Granola Bars

Crispy Baked Homemade Granola Bars | www.kiwiandbean.com

I’ve found no recipe more elusive than the granola bar.

There are no shortage of granola bar recipes out here, granted, but none that did exactly what I wanted them to.

First and foremost I wanted something healthy—more of a snack than a dessert—that I could pack in lunch boxes and tote on road trips without feeling like I was feeding my kids half a bag of cookies. So recipes calling for a cup or more of sugar (and there are a LOT of these recipes out there) were immediately disqualified.

Of course it couldn’t TASTE like a healthy granola bar. Oh no. Chocolate and dried fruit were inevitable.

So I needed something healthy, but that tasted UN-healthy, and that was also nut free. The last point being critical if I wanted to serve these to my younger child and send them off to school with my older one.

Crispy Baked Homemade Granola Bars | www.kiwiandbean.com

I set out to create my own healthy, deliciously un-healthy tasting, nut-free granola bar recipe figuring “geez, how hard can it be?”. But I’m here to tell you that it’s haaaaarder than you would think. Most of my attempts were met with failure of one kind or another: too crumbly, too sticky, not sticky enough, too soft or too hard, among other deficiencies.

They were almost always edible, mind you, but not necessarily in the form in which they were intended. I ended up dumping one batch into a jar and eating it like granola, for example, which while delicious was not the individually-wrapped-stash-in-the-lunchbox convenience snack I was going for.

But I am happy to say that after at least a dozen attempts, I think I have landed on one that actually works. Not only that, but one that tastes pretty good and has all of the health-attributes I’d hope for from a homemade snack: low-ish in sugar and chock full of nutritious whole grains and seeds.

Crispy Baked Homemade Granola Bars | www.kiwiandbean.com

These granola bars are for folks who like their bars oven-crisp, and they are reminiscent of those Nature Valley ones that come packaged two in a pouch. If you are more of a chewy, dipped in chocolate kinda granola bar person, an unbaked oat and cereal type bar might be more your speed. I am working on that recipe too, so stay tuned.

As long as you stick to the ratios of dry stuff to gooey stuff, you should be ok to vary the ingredients in this recipe and use up whatever you’ve got lying around. If nuts are not a concern, for example, feel free to throw in some almonds or pecans in place of the seeds, or some peanut or almond butter (unsweetened) instead of the sunflower seed butter.

3.8 from 4 reviews
Crispy Baked Homemade Granola Bars
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These granola bars are for folks who like their bars oven-crisp, and are reminiscent of those Nature Valley granola bars that come packaged two in a pouch. As long as you stick to the ratios of dry stuff to gooey stuff, you can vary the ingredients to use what you have on hand. Nuts will work in place of the seeds, and peanut or almond butter in place of the sunflower seed butter, for example.
Author:
Ingredients
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup unsweetened sunflower seed butter (I used Sunbutter organic)
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking)
  • ½ cup oat flour (see note below)
  • ¼ cup ground flax seed
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup hulled pumpkin seeds, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • ½ cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, cherries, apricots, blueberries), coarsely chopped if necessary
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with two pieces of parchment paper arranged in a criss-cross formation. (You essentially want to create a sling, with parchment hanging over each edge, so that you can easily pull the bars out of the pan when they are cool.)
  2. Melt the coconut oil in the microwave in a medium glass bowl, then whisk in the sunflower seed butter and maple syrup. (If your sunflower seed butter has been in the fridge, you can melt it along with the coconut oil for easier whisking.)
  3. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, then stir in the coconut oil/sunflower seed butter/maple syrup mixture.
  4. Pour the mixture into the parchment-lined baking pan, distribute it evenly and then press it down very firmly.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the bars begin to brown on the top.
  6. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool completely.
  7. Use the parchment paper to remove the cooled bars to a cutting board. Use a very sharp knife to gently cut the bars to a size that will work for you.
  8. For easy lunch and snack prep, individually wrap the bars in saran wrap and store in the freezer. Otherwise, they will keep for a week or so stored at room temperature in an airtight container.
Notes
Oat flour: if you don't have any oat flour on hand, just grind some oats in a blender or coffee grinder until they are the consistency of whole wheat flour.

 

15 Responses to Crispy Baked Homemade Granola Bars

  1. Robyn April 13, 2016 at 8:27 pm #

    Finally made these yesterday (one year after the comment I left above, geez) and they’re really good! I had a few crumble when I sliced them, but the majority stuck together. The crumbles will just be sprinkled over yogurt. Delish!

    • Sarah April 25, 2016 at 7:52 pm #

      Ack for crumbles!!! But at least you put them to good use :-). xo

  2. Christine September 22, 2015 at 11:51 am #

    This is my new favourite granola bar recipe. I have made a couple of versions: one with almond butter, dark chocolate and dried cherries, and one with peanut butter and dark chocolate. Both turned out great, and got rave reviews from family and friends. I have been using 1 tsp. vanilla instead of the cinnamon, because I think the cinnamon fights it a little bit. They are definitely a bit crumbly, but I find putting them in the freezer for about half an hour after cooling and before cutting helps with this. Thanks for a great recipe!

    • Christine September 22, 2015 at 11:56 am #

      Can’t seem to get the rating to work, but 5 stars from me!

    • Christine September 22, 2015 at 11:58 am #

      Let’s try that again…

    • Christine September 22, 2015 at 11:59 am #

      .

  3. Mimi August 3, 2015 at 10:23 pm #

    Way too sweet, dry and crumbly. Waste of time and ingredients.

    • Sarah August 4, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

      Oh darn sorry you didn’t enjoy them Mimi! They are definitely on the drier and crumbly side. I like them that way but some don’t! I am working on a no-bake granola bar which will be stickier and chewier; maybe that would suit you better. Thanks for trying, though :-).

  4. Kate April 15, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

    I am eating one of these right now! Amazing!! Also, highly adaptable. I thought I had all the ingredients at home when I set out to make them, turned out I was missing some major players: sunbutter and ground flax!! I used coconut butter and some ground chia and they worked great!! Can’t wait to try them the way the recipe is written, but glad to know I can make them on a whim with what’s in my pantry! Merci!!

    • Sarah April 29, 2015 at 7:49 pm #

      Yum! Loved that you used coconut butter. I have a couple jars of coconut butter lying around and I never know what to do with it! I guess I can make granola bars with it :-).

  5. Joni April 13, 2015 at 1:51 pm #

    ah what a recipe i yummy

  6. Jayā @ The Naked Coconut April 13, 2015 at 1:00 am #

    These look amazing- Definitely will be making these! Thanks for sharing

  7. Kiwi April 9, 2015 at 6:50 pm #

    Best granola bar I’ve ever had (nut free or otherwise).

  8. Robyn April 9, 2015 at 12:09 pm #

    I feel like I have made a hundred granola bar recipes from the internet, and the last one I tried almost broke my food processor. Excited to make yours!!

  9. Audrey @ Unconventional Baker April 7, 2015 at 11:40 pm #

    My husband loves the nature valley granola bars — these look & sound amazing! ♥

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