I started off by scouting out a decently rated granola bar recipe on Allrecipes.com. I found these: Playgroup Granola Bars, and then I modified them to make them just a teensy bit healthier. I will write out the modified recipe, but feel free to try out the original recipe first. Nearly 1200 positive reviews can’t be wrong!
Playgroup Granola Bars (modified by moi)
1 cup of rolled oats
2 cups of Porridge Oats
1 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 cup of brown sugar (the original recipe says 3/4, but we didn’t miss that quarter cup)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp apple pie spice (more on that below)
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup of dried fruit (I used raisins and cranberries)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup applesauce
1 egg (beaten)
2 tsp vanilla extract
These are Porridge Oats. I’m a huge fan of baking with them. They have wheat bran, oat bran and flaxseed mixed up with your oats. You can get them in the cereal aisle with the regular rolled oats.
This is Apple Pie Spice. The stuff I use is made by a local company, Victorian Epicure. However, you could just increase the cinnamon (the original recipe calls for 3/4) and maybe a pinch of nutmeg.
Directions for making these sumptious bars o’ granola:
1. Fire the oven on to 350 degrees
2. Grease a 9×13 (lasagna-sized) baking dish OR you can do what I did, and line it with parchment.
3. Dump all of the dry ingredients into a bowl.
4. Make a cup of tea. It’s going to take eleventy million years for your nearly-four year old to mix that up. There will also be a few raisin-casualities. I feel I must warn you.
5. It’s nearly mixed up now. Shout encouraging phrases from your post at the kitchen table.
6. Make a well in the middle of your dry mix. Pour all of your wet ingredients into a bowl and blend together. Then slop that mixture into your well. Admire it. Then stir it all up. You should stir until the entire mix is coated and leaves the sides of the bowl.
7. Put the mixture into your parchment-lined baking dish. Pat it down with your hands or spatula. Try to get it evenly spread throughout the dish. I find it helps to trim any errant ends of parchment because they sometimes brown a bit too much for my liking, and they can fall over what you’re cooking, which is annoying and probably not very good for it.
8. Bake the granola bars for about 25-30 minutes. You will see them start to get brown at their edges. Take them out of the oven and let them sit for about 5 minutes. Then, once they’ve hardened a smidge, you can cut them. If you’ve greased the pan, you can cut them into squares while in the pan, and then wait a bit longer before you use a spatula to take them out of the dish.
If you have used parchment, then you can do this:
Lift the granola bars out of the dish by pulling up on the parchment paper. Then place the parchment and bars onto a cutting board. Cut your grid of granola bars and let them cool to “preschool eatin'” temperature.
I know – isn’t it genius? Plus, your baking pan will be almost entirely clean! You just have to wipe it down and put it away. The parchment can go into your organic bin and clean-up is done!
9. Plate your bars in a series of three (things look better in odd numbers) and then present your beautiful creations to your awaiting family. First, throw a little flour on your face like that woman in the 90’s commercial did and wipe the sweat from your brow. You have single-handedly thwarted the Quaker company’s granola bar dynasty. You are practically Gordon Ramsay, just the slipper-wearing, hair-in-a-messy-bun version. Hear you roar!
10. Put adorable little granola bars into snack containers and pat yourself on the back. They don’t taste like the woods! Congratulations! Success is yours [mine]!
I do think that if your family is used to the store-bought variety, maybe adding a few mini chocolate chips in the beginning wouldn’t hurt. These granola bars are good – Hubby ate quite a few of them quite happily – but they’re not the chocolate-coated cavity-makers that you can buy in a box. You can taste that they’re from a kitchen and not from a factory. A bit of tweaking may depend on the taste buds of each individual child.
That being said, I was thrilled with these! I will most definitely make them again!
I think I’ve figured out how to make this recipe into a printable. Here goes!