As I promised myself I would, I made granola bars this weekend. They are my go-to snack and I've decided that they are made with basic enough ingredients and I make so much of my own granola that I should be able to make them as well. Turns out it's not quite that simple. It's hard, in fact, to get them to hold together! This is the third recipe that I've tried, and each had varying degrees of success (one tasted awful, one was great but I had to change the cooking time significantly). But, slight crumbliness aside, these are the best I have made so far. They have excellent flavor and I am very excited to have them in my snacking future.
I printed the recipe out many months ago, and unfortunately I didn't keep a record of where it is from (I'm sorry and grateful to the lovely person who developed this!). I adjusted the recipe to suit what I had on hand, which is reflected below. I wrapped each square individually so they are just as convenient as packaged ones. Plus since I had everything in my pantry, it's sort of like they are free!
Coconut Peanut Raisin Granola Bars
Makes about 12 bars, depending on how large or small you cut them
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup 7-grain cereal
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 1/2 cups peanuts
2/3 cup agave nectar (you can also use honey)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp + 1/2 tsp canola oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 unsweetened shredded dried coconut
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with 1/2 tsp canola oil.
3. Coarsely chop nuts in food processor, pulsing to prevent from pasting up. Remove and set aside.
4. Place oats, 7-grain cereal, wheat germ, nuts, and coconut on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes, stirring several times to prevent burning.
5. During the final few minutes of baking, warm up the agave nectar, the oil, the vanilla and the salt. Stir to dissolve the salt.
6. Remove the cereal mixture from the oven and reduce the temperature to 300.
7. Add the cereal mixture to a large bowl, pour in the oil/sweetener and stir to combine. Add the raisins and mix well.
8. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish. Using a flat spatula, press down on the mixture to level the surface.
*9. Bake for 25 minutes at 300 degrees. When you remove the dish from the oven, carefully slice into bars, pressing down on any bars that crumble to reshape them. The bars will be soft and crumbly while they are hot. Allow them to cool completely before attempting to remove them from the pan.
*Since I used a smaller baking pan, 8x8 as it was the closest to the suggested size, and my bars were thicker, I wound up nearly tripled the baking time to dry them out more. I covered the pan with foil for the final 20 minutes so that the top didn't get too brown, but since the temperature was so low, it just pulled out a bit more moisture. Don't be scared to experiment with different nuts (like almonds), seeds (the original recipe called for 1/4 cup of sesame seeds) and dried fruit, though if you use something bigger like apricots dice them up (or chop them in the food processor) so that they will be evenly distributed.
I love the texture of the bars and the flavor of the peanuts is delightful. Some day I'm totally making these with chocolate chips!