As I have mentioned before, my oldest kiddo has a life threatening allergy to peanuts. Have you ever found a granola bar in a store that doesn't have peanut traces? I haven't. If you have, I would love to know about it. This means that he has never had a store-bought granola bar in his 20+ years - not that he is really missing much. Now I am cooking for a group of sweet 18 month - 3 year olds. One of them has a severe egg allergy.
So, I dug out my old granola bar recipe. I forgot how much I love these. They are so good!
You might never buy another pre-made bar again.
The fun part is that you can put anything you want in them. These have M&M's in them - something that I never used before because, you know, peanut allergy. But oldest kiddo is not living in CT anymore. He is in sunny CA. (to read about what he is doing see this post http://ahawker.blogspot.com/2012/06/california-san-fernando-mission.html)
You could also make these gluten-free if you so desire. Yep, it's a winner.
These granola bars are not hard, but they are chewy. I used sunflower seeds, raisins, dried cranberries, and almonds in this batch. Other things I have used are pumpkin seeds, chopped pecans, any dried fruit, coconut, chocolate chips. All are so good. My recipe is adapted from Ree Drummond.
Give it a try!
Oh, yeah. This recipe makes a bunch.
6 cups Rolled Oats (not Quick Oats)
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil OR Canola Oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
1/2 cups honey
1/4 cup maple syrup (the real stuff)
1/4 cup molasses
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract (get the good stuff - I like Mexican vanilla)
1 cup oat bran or germ
1 cup wheat germ (if you have issues with wheat, just use more oat or get rice)
1 - 1 1/2 cups of any kind of nuts or seeds you want (I used almond slivers and sunflower seeds in the pictures.)
1 - 1 1/2 cups dried fruit (I used raisins and dried cranberries in the pictures)
1 bag of M&M's or 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line a half-sheet pan with foil.
In a large bowl, toss the oats with the oil, butter and salt.
Spread the mixture on the baking sheet ant toast in the even for 20 minutes.
Remove the oats from the oven and let them cool.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar, honey, maple syrup and molasses. Heat the mixture until it begins to boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Toss the toasted oats, bran and/or germ, nuts/seeds, and dried fruit together in a large mixing bowl. (I just use the same one that I used for the oats.)
Pour in the sugar mixture, stirring as you pour, until it is combined. Add the chocolate - if you are using it - and mix it up. It's going to be sticky.
Butter or spray the foil in the same foil-lined pan that you toasted the oats with.
Press the oat mixture into the pan. I usually put a piece of parchment paper on top to press it down. Trust me - you want to do this.
Bake the huge granola bar in the 325 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
When it is cool, lift out the humongous bar by the foil.
Place on a cutting board and cut into smaller pieces with a sharp knife.