homemade chewy granola bars

I am on a serious mission to create the perfect homemade chewy granola bar. This mission was brought on mostly by the fact that my local grocery store stopped carrying my favorite organic Cascadian Farms Harvest Berry ones.  They were seriously one of the very few packaged foods I buy, and now I can’t find them without driving to another store, 30 minutes away.

See, I don’t want a lot of junk in my breakfast bars, I just want simple and delicious ingredients. I just want some whole food, real food breakfast bars that are chewy and dreamy. I just one some chewy breakfast bars that are full of stuff that’s pretty good for me.

So, after many recipes (my own and others) and many trial-and-errors, I’m finally getting this chewy breakfast bar thing down.  I admit I have a passion for wanting to overdo it on the nut and berry “add-in’s”, but every time I do this, I end up with crumblier bars, which makes delicious granola but not such great granola bars. When I actually follow this recipe exactly, they come out pretty darned good, so this is one of the few recipes I’ve created and make that I actually MEASURE, every single time. Consider yourself warned. Maybe once I’ve made this a hundred times, I’ll have a better feel for it, but for now, I measure.

homemade-chewy-granola-bar-recipe-lola-rugula

homemade chewy granola bar recipe with almonds, coconut and dried berries

  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I always, always use real butter)
  • 2 tablespoons organic coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon good-quality local honey (I’m generous on this measurement, since some of it inevitably sticks to the measuring vessel)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (try and stay away from the stuff with added corn syrup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup dried berries (I use a mix sometimes, or sometimes it’s just dried blueberries or cherries or cranberries) You can also add raisins or dates, if you prefer
  • 1/8 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/8 shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground flax seed

Preheat oven to 350°

Loosely line a cookie sheet with a generous piece of aluminum foil and spread the rolled oats and chopped almonds on top. (I lift the foil edges up somewhat, creating more of a “bowl” than a flat layer) Place in preheated oven and toast for 5 minutes. Stir and toast for another 4 minutes, stirring 1/2 way through. Remove from oven. (I like to toast these before I melt the butter mixture, so I can put it all together while the butter mixture is nice and runny). Can you make these without the toasting process? Sure! But the toasting adds a great flavor, trust me.

In a large microwaveable glass dish, add butter, coconut oil, honey, brown sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Microwave on high for 45-60 seconds, until oil has mostly melted. Stir well, until sugar and salt has dissolved.

Add toasted oats and almonds to butter mixture and stir well, coating all of the oats. Add sunflower seeds, coconut and berries and mix well again.

Using the foil that you baked the oats and nuts on, use it to line an 8 x 8 baking dish or pan. Grease the foil lightly with a touch of coconut oil.

Drop the oat mixture into the prepared baking dish and press the mixture in very, very firmly. When you think you’ve pressed it firmly enough, all the way around, including at the edges, press it again, all the way around, for another minute or two.  This is part of the key of making this things hold together. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Don’t skimp on this time unless you really want granola.

Lift foil out of baking dish and slide granola mixture onto a large cutting board. Cut the mixture into bars. Store in covered container.

These keep at least a week for me which, so far, is as long as they’ve lasted. 🙂

homemade-chewy-granola-bar-recipeA lot of recipes for breakfast bars call for a lot of butter and sugar, so I’ve created this recipe with not nearly so much.  I have tried to make this without the butter, using just coconut oil  and, sadly, they were just too crumbly. The butter firms up better than the coconut oil, once it’s chilled and set. If these soften too much at room temperature for you, then try storing them in the fridge.

Feel free to change up the type of nuts and add-in’s – think cashew nuts, chia seeds, pepitas -you can definitely personalize these to your own taste. (please play with your food!) Dark chocolate chips would be a good antioxidant add-in and would act as an additional “glue”, to hold these together. I’ve not done this yet, but I will.

I enjoy one of these each morning, alongside a banana and boiled egg. Sometimes, when I’m really hungry, I also have some Greek Yogurt with flax seed and whole berries. I hope you try these and love them – my husband and I sure do, because these rarely last a week for us.

21 thoughts on “homemade chewy granola bars

  1. The only time I tried to make granola bars they ended up with the hardness of rock. They were actually delicious… they just took a day or two to nibble away each bar 🙂

    • To your credit, I’ve bought granola bars that are just as hard as yours were! 🙂 My goal was definitely to have them chewy, but I ended up with just granola more than once.

  2. I will admit I have not even dared to attempt making granola bars yet. I see all these half-baked attempts 🙂 Anyone can throw together some oats and nuts, but to really get a healthy snack that works is not easy. But then yours really looks amazing!! Nutrition packed, compact. I might just dare to try it using your recipe 🙂

    • Well, again, these were one of the few packaged foods I used to buy, until I couldn’t find the ones I preferred. I was practically FORCED into having to make them! 🙂 I hope if you try them that you love them! 🙂

  3. I liked this not because I like it, but to let you know I was here. Then I decided to comment, too: I’ve never liked granola, homemade or factory made, chewy or non-chewy, bars, squares or circles………..lol

  4. Reblogged this on lola rugula and commented:

    Just an update on my chewy granola breakfast bars. I have found that popping the pan in the oven for just 7 to 10 minutes definitely helps with holding these together, yet still keeping them chewy. I make these all the time now, mixing up the add-ins to suit my mood. I still love them no matter what I put in them!

  5. You sure about the microwave on high for 45 to 60 minutes for the oil, butter, honey, sugar? I assume that should be seconds, but you never know since you warned us to be exact. These are exactly what I have been looking for since good bars are hard to buy. Thanks

It's always nice to hear your comments...