You're gonna love homemade granola bars

Ever looked at the ingredients on a typical granola bar? Yikes. What is that stuff? If you can't pronounce what's on the label, it's a good clue you shouldn't be eating it.

That's why I've been making my own granola bars. I've seen some good organic brands, but homemade is definitely cheaper and tastier. This recipe is similar to a chewy-type bar, a la Quaker or Kashi, sans partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats), other non-food ingredients and packaging waste. You can create just about any flavor combination you want. I usually just use up whatever I have in my pantry when I make them. This time, that meant dark chocolate, cranberry and almond granola bars (using all organic ingredients).

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Almond chewy granola bars

Prep Time: 10 mins  Bake Time: 35 mins

Makes 18 bars

Ingredients:

2 cups rolled oats

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 cup crisp rice cereal 

1/2 cup wheat germ

2/3 cup flour 

3/4 cup craisins

1 tsp course sea salt

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup vegetable oil (coconut works great)

1 tsp almond extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup sliced almonds

 

In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients. Transfer to a greased 13x9-inch pan and pack it down evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and cut into squares or bars after 3-5 minutes of cooling (don't wait any longer or the granola bars will be too crunchy to cut without crumbling).

For flavor variations, try mixing in:

Nuts

Chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

Coconut shavings

Your favorite (organic) cereal in lieu of crisp rice cereal

Raisins, dates or other dried fruit

Mashed banana

Cinnamon

Peanut butter

 

I wish these bars lasted long enough to freeze some, but that just hasn't happened yet. Let me know if you come up with a delicious variation!