As I try to eat healthier snacks, I’m constantly blindsided by the cost of the lifestyle. For instance, I can by 6 granola bars at Walmart for the same price as three double cheeseburgers. It seems like the more weight a person loses, the slimmer his pockets become. That was before I started making my own granola bars. They taste better and fresher than store bought granola bars, you can add whatever you want to the mix, and you can dictate whether you want the granola chewy or crunchy. And did I mention it’s cheaper!
While trying to determine the best way to tackle making granola bars, I found myself running into two problems with the recipes. The first is that for the simpler recipes the comments always mentioned the granola bars being too crumbly. The second problem is that the more complex recipes added too many high in fat/ sugar additions. My objective was to make a simple granola bar recipe that actually held together. Challenge accepted.
To tackle the problem of binding, I decided to make an invert sugar using brown sugar and water. When the water becomes supersaturated with the sugar it cools to form a type of glue or paste that is perfect for the job. I wanted a subtle peanut butter taste, so I added a bit of peanut butter directly to the hot invert sugar. (You can add more if you desire if you want a stronger peanut butter taste). I then tempered one beaten egg into the mixture to emulsify the mixture and to further add volume to the binding mixture.
Voila! A mixture that is certified to bind oats in oatmeal and that tastes amazing. This is the perfect base recipe for anyone getting started in making granola bars.
Makes 12 bars
2 cups oats
1 cup of almonds, walnuts, pecans, or mix of nuts
½ cup of brown sugar
2 tbs of water
¼ cup Peanut butter
1 large beaten egg
¼ tsp of salt
1 ½ tsp of vanilla
Optional- 1 cup of pitted dates, apricots, cranberries etc
Optional- ½ cup of wheat germ
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.
- Toss the oatmeal and nuts together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ and dried fruit if desired.
- Bring the water and brown sugar to a boil on medium heat. Take the pot of heat and stir in peanut butter. Then stir in the salt and vanilla.
- Temper the beaten egg into the mixture (Slowly whisk about 3 spoons of brown sugar mixture into the egg. Then slowly pour, while stirring, the egg mixture into the brown sugar mixture.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
- Combine the brown sugar mixture with the oats and nuts.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cut the bars. Then Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours. Serve at room temperature.