From scratch: Perfect chewy oatmeal chocolate chip granola bars (new recipe)

I love granola bars. But most of the ones from the store (unless you're spending an arm and a leg and getting the super duper healthy ones) are like an on-the-go cookie in my opinion. :)

I tried Christy's recipe for "Perfect Granola Bars" this week. And this recipe does taste like a really good chewy oatmeal chocolate chip cookie! So, I tend to think of these as more of a dessert than something that could be regularly called "breakfast".

The kids and I loved these granola bars. We made two batches and they were all eaten in less than 24 hours, if that's saying anything. (Actually, it's probably saying something about my lack of self-control and bad parenting if we ate 36 granola bars in 24 hours' time!!)

What I like about these Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Granola Bars:

They're easy to make. Really, 15 minutes and they're ready to go into the oven.

The recipe seems foolproof. Perfect results --yes, all two times I've made them this week. ;) But really, after dealing with fall-apart granola bars and takes-too-many-special-ingredients granola bars, these are like magic.

They're cooked enough. The oats don't taste raw to me. :) I love the hearty flavor of the oats, whole wheat, and honey. Joshua said he prefers his granola bars without much of a honey taste; I couldn't really even taste the honey. At any rate, they're much better than the gooey "chewy" granola bars from the store, in my opinion. :)

They have chocolate.

...and they're easy to make. If you have 15 minutes, you can pop a dish of these in the oven! (FYI, if you're seven years old like my son, it might take twice as long as that.) :)

I adapted Christy's recipe to use slightly less butter, and expanded the instructions a little so you don't end up smearing chocolate chips everywhere. But really, I hardly changed a thing -- her recipe is excellent! :)


I thought it would be interesting to do a cost breakdown for these granola bars. My kitchen scale was helpful for this since I buy everything in bulk quantities. (And my math skills are up to speed since Yehoshua is doing multiplication and division now.) ;)

Cost breakdown for Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Granola Bars:
I purchased my ingredients at Costco, so I'm using the prices I paid there.

1 1/2 sticks butter -- $0.83 (at $2.20/lb.)

1/2 cup honey -- $0.78 (5.4 oz. at $13.99/96oz.)

1/3 cup (packed) brown sugar -- $0.12 (at $3.39 for 9 1/3 cups)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract -- $0.07 (from my 16oz. Costco bottle)

1 cup freshly ground whole wheat flour -- $0.20 (.28 lb at $0.60/lb. from WinCo)

1 teaspoon baking soda -- ? It came in a 10# bag at Costco! :)

4 1/2 cups rolled oats -- $0.63 (.91lb. at $0.69lb.)

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips -- $0.58 ($6.99/72oz. w/coupon at Costco)

Total cost for 18 granola bars: $3.21 ($0.18 per bar)

My granola bars weighed an average of 2.3 ounces each with a calorie count of 261 per bar (~50% larger than the average store-bought granola bar). Obviously, these granola bars aren't made with puffed rice or other "light" ingredients! ;)

My next quest? Create a healthier protein- and fiber-rich chewy granola bar (without using peanut butter). Any ideas? :)

Related: My mom's Energy Bars recipe is really good (and chewy), but I don't always have corn syrup on hand (it uses 1/2 cup). In fact, I basically never have corn syrup on hand. And they're not quite as good (chewy + holding together) made with honey instead of corn syrup. But if you do have corn syrup, Energy Bars are a great on-the-go granola bar recipe, as well! :)

Comments

I love homemade granola bars and this recipe looks great! I usually use a recipe from Allrecipes.com but yours looks even better. Thanks for sharing :)

What about using quinoa for a protein rich granola bar?

Cooked quinoa? I do have quinoa, so I'll have to research using it in a granola bar. Sounds yummy though! :D

I have 2 children allergic to peanuts (and tree nuts) so I am limited in what I can use for non-meat proteins in things like cookies or granola/granola bars. So far the only non-soy, non-tree-nut replacement for peanut butter I have found is something called SunButter. We get it at the commissary but you might be able to find it at Wal-Mart or certainly at a health food store. I have to say it's not as good as peanut butter, but if you're like my kids and don't have the option it is at least something to try. It's just sunflower seeds which are ground into "butter" the same way peanuts are made into peanut butter. It has oil on top and a slightly grainy texture similar to natural types of peanut butter. It's quite a bit more gloppy than regular peanut butter though, and they reccommend storing it in the fridge once it's opened.

Regarding the corn syrup, if you're worried about the healfulness of HFCS, what about cane syrup? It's an alternative I use from time to time when I really don't want corn syrup but need the properties of it. It's made from sugar cane and has a wonderful light caramel-y background flavor. It's lighter than dark corn syrup, though. It's a bit expensive so I avoid using it too often but nice for occasional treats.

Thanks for the ideas! :) I've heard of sunbutter, but haven't tried it. I wonder if I could make my own from sunflower seeds (I have those already). We aren't allergic to peanuts (thankfully!) but I just don't want peanut butter in everything... :)
I'll have to look into corn syrup and cane syrup options... I'm not really against using some light corn syrup in baking every now and then, but haven't really seen any good deals on it, either. :)
I could experiment more with molasses and honey bases, but I get tired of failed granola bar experiments pretty quickly! ;)

If you keep sunflower seeds on hand anyway, you could make some in a good food processor, I would imagine. Might be able to use a blender for small amounts at a time but for making a larger amount a food processor would probably be better.

Look for the EatingWell recipe "Almond-Honey Power Bars" I make this for my son for his snack at school.. We love them! I have just been look for different varieties.. Thanks for this post!

Will do! Thanks! :)

I have too, looked for a good granola bar recipe, but mainly I wanted one with all the butter in it. I love the one on Joy in my kitchen as it is very similar to the one you posted, but without any peanut butter (for those allergic) and no butter!!! It has sugar and honey, but you can mix all kinds of things in it!

I'll check hers out! :) I don't mind all the butter, it's more the sugar, for me. :) Butter holds me over until the next meal, too much sugar makes my blood sugar crash a couple hours later. :P :)

Protein: quinoa? almonds or other tree nut (a must in granola as far as I'm concerned)? Chia seeds are supposed to be quite healthy. Teff is good. I've seen a lot of recipes that call for flax seeds.

About the sweetener, do you think this recipe would work well with agave nectar or maple syrup?

Looking forward to trying it.

-Rachel

Mmm, I have ground flax seeds -- thanks for the idea, Rachel! I've never had chia seeds or teff though...

I've not used agave nectar so I don't know how that would work; maple syrup in this recipe -- possibly, but my *guess* is that it wouldn't be as chewy as using honey. Just a guess, though! If you try it with substitutions, I'd love to hear how it turns out! :D

Yes you can make homemade sunbutter and it is much much cheaper than store bought (and the taste compared to store bought is out of this world :) I calculate it costs me .88c per 16 oz to make it when I buy them bulk and they are organic that way :) Almond butter is about $3.00 for the same jars that cost $7-10.
We don't buy peanut butter but instead make almond butter and sunbutter. I roast them at 400 F for about 7-10 minutes (til lightly browned) and then salt and cool (you don't have to salt but we do good salt and snack on these because they taste sooo good :)
Then put them in my cuisinart for 8-10 minutes. That is the trick. I tried many years ago making almond butter and couldn't figure out how the store did it because it was just a pasty .. . paste. Well, leave the thing running and about 8 minutes later it turns into the creamy and delectable almond butter that makes store bought taste like . . . yucky stale filler (I think we have all become used to stale foods tasting normal so that when you make them fresh they are just delicious.)
Anyway, you will "hear" it when the nuts turn into the proper consistency. Sunflowers do the same. :)
Heather

Thanks for the tips on making the perfect almond butter or sunbutter!

I don't have a food processor (mine broke)... I may try to use my blender though! :)

Tammy,

You may be able to replace the wheat flour with garbanzo or soy flour. That will increase the fiber and protein! I may try it since we don't do wheat.

Katie
www.glutenfreefoodstorage.net

I'm going to have to try these! we like homemade granola bars.

You can replace some of the flour with oat bran to up the fiber content (about 1/4 of the flour). You might also try replacing some of the flour with ground flax seed. I do both when I make our bread each week. You might also try some Uncle Sam's Cereal in place of some of the oatmeal. Also works great in bread.

We just made these tonight, and they are SOOO good! My kids love them- of course! how could you not when it is like a really yummy cookie?:) Anyway, I used Agave syrup in place of the honey because we were out of the latter, and it seemed to work fabulously! When I make these again I want to try using white bean flour and flax seed in place of the whole wheat flour, and replacing half of the butter with applesauce to lower the fat content. I hope it works. . . we'll see:) Thanks for all your great recipes! I want to try the Kefir next. . . my neighbor makes it, so, like you suggested, I am going to see if I can get some grains from her. Thanks for all your great ideas!

Thanks for sharing! I have added ground flax for part of the flour in these granola bars and they turned out fine. :)

Enjoy your kefir-making! Your neighbor will probably be excited to share grains with you... it's always fun to have friends who make kefir too! :)

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