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! :)