Granola bars are a popular snack around my house, but it's cheaper to make my own than to buy them, and I get to pick my favorite flavors. These are chewy, wholesome goodness and they disappear in a hurry.
1/2 cup nuts (whole almonds, sliced almonds, pecans, peanuts, or whatever you want)
1/4 cup corn syrup or honey (whichever you prefer)
1/3 cup brown sugar
5 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup add-ins (see below)
Line an 8x8 baking pan with foil or parchment paper and grease it lightly.
Spread the rolled oats and nuts on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven at 350 for 5-8 minutes or so.
While the oats are toasting, add butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup or honey to a 3 QT saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the butter is melted and the mixture just starts to boil. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt.
Stir the oats and nuts into the sugar mixture until all of them are coated well. Stir in the add-ins. If you are using any kind of chocolate chips, put them in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before adding them to the granola and let it cool a bit before stirring them in. Otherwise, they melt.
Press the granola mixture into the lined baking pan with a spoon or spatula or with wet hands. Chill the bars in the fridge for a couple of hours. Take the granola bar chunk out of the pan and cut into bars. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 5-7 days or freeze for longer storage.
Alright, so that's the basic recipe. What add-ins you use can vary, as can the nuts. Here are some options:
-Almonds and dried cranberries (pictured)
-Almond slices, white chocolate chips, and flaked coconut
-Peanuts and chocolate chips
-Chopped pecans and dried blueberries
-Dark chocolate chunks and dried cherries with almonds or pecans
You can also add some healthy additions like wheat germ, sunflower seeds, or flax meal.
Note that you only want up to 3/4 cup of total add-ins (not counting the nuts, which were already measured at 1/2 cup). So, for example, if you want to do almond white chocolate coconut bars, you use 1/2 cup of almond slices and toast them with the oats, then add in about 1/4 cup coconut and 1/2 cup white chocolate chips (totaling 3/4 cup of add-ins).
There are lots and lots of possibilities for these granola bars. Use your imagination and see which flavors you like best. Enjoy!