Let’s start the week with some granola bars, shall we?
Now that I’ve gone and made real, bona fide granola bars, I find it funny that when the supply from my in-laws ran out, my first move was to bake some muffins. I guess I just didn’t know any better.
It wasn’t that I’d never heard of making granola bars at home. But the recipes I’d seen all involved using nuts, and those sneaky guys can really add up. It didn’t seem worth it for a breakfast recipe we’d gobble up.
So I put granola bars on the back burner.
Until one fine day, when Laura at Pragmatic Attic posted a nut-free granola bar recipe. Although we only know each other through our blogs, she said she’d actually thought of me when she made her batch. There were no two ways about it, then: These granola bars were meant to be. As in, meant to be in my kitchen. And stomach.
It’s a simple recipe, which is a good thing. If I’m going to be making these somewhat regularly (which is what I was looking for in a granola bar recipe), it can’t be too much of a fuss. If you count baking time, these aren’t quick per se, but if you’ve got other things to cook in the meantime, you won’t even notice it. (And isn’t there always something else to cook?)
They’re also flexible. I topped this batch with a pretty chocolate drizzle, but you could also stick in chocolate chips (regular or white) or raisins or craisins. Or nuts, of course. The truth is, they’d all be delicious.
But my husband said it best: “Nature Valley has nothing on you.”
(Thanks, Pragmatic Attic!)
Yield: 16 bars
- 2 cups oats
- ½ cup dried coconut
- 6 Tbsp maple syrup plus ⅓ to ½ cup maple syrup, divided
- 3 Tbsp canola oil (original recipe uses coconut oil)
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- 2 cups puffed rice cereal (Rice Krispies or your makolet’s equivalent)
- 75 grams baking chocolate (or a little less than ½ cup chocolate chips)
1. Preheat oven to 275 F/135 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Combine oats, coconut, 6 Tbsp maple syrup, and oil in a bowl and mix until well combined. Don’t be shy, use your hands. They’ll do a better job than your spoon.
3. Spread the mixture out on the baking sheet and bake 35 minutes. It should be a light golden brown color by then. Let cool a few minutes until you can safely handle it.
4. Crumble the oat mixture (I broke it up in large chunks and rolled them roughly between my hands) and mix with the flour, cereal, and remaining syrup. (I started with ⅓ cup and added a nice big spoonful — the idea is to get the mixture to stick together enough to press into a cube. If it’s too dry, this next part won’t work.)
5. Spread it back onto the parchment-lined sheet and shape it into a 9″ x 9″ square. Even out the thickness as much as possible, pressing down to help it hold together.
6. Bake at 275 F/135 C for another 15 minutes. While it’s baking, melt chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. (Do this shortly before the granola square come out of the oven so that the chocolate doesn’t have time to harden.) Drizzle over granola square. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
7. When the chocolate has hardened and the granola is mostly cool, use a large serrated bread knife to cut it into 12-16 bars. They keep well out of the fridge for several days, but once you refrigerate them they’ll harden.