Saturday, March 7, 2009

Easy, Breezy Granola Bars

When I was in school, mom rarely ever bought granola bars. She maintained that they were too expensive, and so instead would sometimes make us homemade granola bars which were, of course WAY better than any storebought granola bar I've ever had. When I moved out to go to school, I didn't get these tasty treats anymore, so I asked mom for the recipe. I was surprised at how simple they were! Really, only two essential ingredients, and everything else is completely customizable. In the past, I've done rasin/peanut (which is what my mom always used), and cherry/cashew. Today, in a stroke of brilliance, I used ready-made trail mix, which is a lot cheaper than buying all of the ingredients seperately. Anyway, onwards!

  • Easy Granola Bars (turns out its the same as this recipe!)
  • Ingredients
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease, or line with parchment paper a small cookie sheet (with sides) or jelly roll pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix everything togther. You can use your hands if you want, but its kind of sticky! I just use a rubber spatula.
  3. Dump mixture into prepared pan and spread it out so its even. Grease the bottom of a pancake flipper and use it to smooth the mixture out, pressing it into the pan quite firmly. You really can't do any damage to it during this step, so press away!
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, depending on how crunchy you want them. Lightly browned just around the edges will give you moist, chewy bars. Easiest way to cut them is to turn them out onto a cutting board (run a knife down any edges not coverd by parchment paper first, or the ends will break), remove parchment paper (if applicable) and then cut into desired pieces. I usually get about 16. I haven't tried using cookie cutters yet, though I bet that would be fun!
The only two ingredients I haven't messed with are the oats and the condensed milk. You can substitute anything else for whatever seeds, nuts, dried fruit or chocolately pieces you'd like, and they should turn out, so you can make them healthier (or less so) to your tastes.