Old-fashioned oats or quick-cooking oats will work here (steel-cut oats will not). Old-fashioned oats lend a more chewy, “rustic” texture. Quick-cooking oats disappear more into the bars. If desired, you can briefly blitz old-fashioned oats in the food processor to achieve the texture of quick-cooking oats.
Here’s where we add more flavor! See below for options.
Nut butter helps hold these bars together, and offers protein, healthy fat and fiber. You could use peanut butter, almond butter, or even pecan butter. For a nut-free option, sunflower butter will work.
These natural sweeteners also help bind the bars together, and make these bars deliciously sweet (though not too sweet). Or, make date paste from fresh Medjool dates. Dates offer additional fiber, while honey or maple syrup do not. See the recipe notes for details.
These add extra flavor to your bars. Technically, you could omit any or all of these, but the bars are more enticing with them. Salt enhances the flavor of all the other ingredients—cut it in half if you’re sensitive to salt.
Two cups of mix-ins add flavor, texture and more nutrients. Choose from any combination of the following:
Here are some variations on this granola bar recipe that I’ve come up with over the years. I love them all!
These granola bars are quite simple to make, especially if you have a food processor (affiliate link).
These bars hold together best when the ingredients are quite small. If using almonds, you’ll want to either start with pre-sliced almonds, or chop them up in the food processor or by hand (same goes for all nuts). It’s easy to throw all of your mix-ins into the food processor and blitz a few times.
Air pockets will cause problems. Use a sturdy, flat-bottomed jar to make sure the mixture is pressed down completely. You might then press down with your hands to ensure it’s not trying to sneak up the sides or corners.
The oats need some time to soak up the moisture in the nut butter and sweetener. Chill the mixture for at least one hour (or as long as a day) before slicing.
Use a sharp chef’s knife to slice these bars. I like to slice them into squares. Another option would be to slice them into bars like this. I think the squares are a little more sturdy. Be sure not to stack the bars on top of each other, or they can stick. You can store them flat, covered, or wrap them individually in plastic wrap or parchment paper.
recipe from Cookieandkate.com