We go through granola bars like crazy in my house. Arne eats two for breakfast on those days when we don’t have the time or organization to eat breakfast together. (Or when the cat lets me sleep in.) Plus he eats them for snacks, and we always take them when hiking and disc golfing.
The thing is, commercial granola bars aren’t that yummy. And they’re not as good for you as they’re cracked up to be.
These dense, chewy granola bars, though, are delicious. They taste of whole oats, nuts, and dried fruit – not just of sugar. They’re less sweet and crumblier than commercial ones, filling and wholesome. The only problem is there’s no way I can churn out enough to meet the demand!
This recipe is adapted from one posted at Smitten Kitchen, my favorite food blog. My adaptations were mostly made to change a mixed-fruit-and-nut bar to a cherry-almond one. Feel free to use any combination of fruit and nuts to equal 2 to 3 cups, vanilla rather than almond extract, any nut butter, and maple syrup or corn syrup for part of the honey, to create your own favorite combination.
Chewy Cherry-Almond Granola Bars
1 + 2/3 cups quick oats
1/3 cup oat flour (buy at a natural foods store, or just whirl oats in the food processor)
1/4 to 1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup dried tart cherries
1 cup sliced or slivered almonds (I used some of each)
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/3 cup almond butter
1/2 to 1 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon water
Heat the oven to 350. Spray an 8×8-inch pan well with Pam, or line with parchment, leaving enough coming out the sides to make “handles,” and grease lightly. (This allows you to remove the bars from the pan for neater cutting.)
Stir together all the dry ingredients, including cherries and almonds, in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients until mostly lump-free. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir together until evenly crumbly. Spread in the pan, pressing down firmly. (I use a bench knife for this – the bottom of a measuring cup can work well too, or use lightly moistened fingers.)
Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes. They’ll be pretty brown around the edges when done (and those brown edges are the tastiest part).
Cool bars completely. Turn out using the parchment or cut in the pan. Cut into 12 bars. If they seem too crumbly, chill and cut cold. I like to wrap them individually in plastic wrap for grab-and-go breakfasts, or store in an airtight container.