Chewy Granola Bars

September is upon us, all of a sudden.  Doesn’t it always seem to slap you in the face with a Jansport backpack?  I mean, a few days ago I was drinking pink wine and talking about my favorite bathing suit cover-up, and today I had to go to the dentist and sharpen all of my pencils.  School buses are toting kids around as we speak.

So, fine, maybe I didn’t actually sharpen all of my pencils today, but can’t you feel it?  That shift from August to September, when everything starts to get serious and real and “back on track”?  You can.

There are pros and cons to this shifting paradigm.  My inner lazy lady mourns the loss of the slow summer months, but my typical oldest-child-type-A-eager-to-please-ism secretly heralds the crisp structure of autumn.  Let’s compare:

We’ll start with September’s cons:

  1. My birthday is not in September.
  2. Peach season is almost over.
  3. It’s now no longer appropriate to wear white pants.

And the pros?

  1. We can start legitimately thinking about Halloween costumes.
  2. After school snacks!
  3. It’s now no longer appropriate to wear white pants.

I’d like to call attention to the point about after school snacks.  Let’s make granola bars from scratch!  

I’d never thought about homemade granola bars before, and was entirely pleased with myself when I pulled these out of the oven.  I ate them happily, thinking myself the picture of sensible snacking health, until Ben pointed out that these are pretty much just cookies.

To which I replied, “so?” to which he replied “just saying,” to which I replied “SO??”

And then we dropped that issue.

Homemade granola bars!  Like cookies, only not.  Perfect for September.

Chewy Granola Bars

Adapted from Orangette, by way of Smitten Kitchen

If you don’t have coconut oil, feel free to substitute melted butter.  If can find it, though, I highly recommend using it; I like its smooth texture and extra hit of coconut flavor in these bars.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats, divided
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut chips
  • ½ cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate of similar size
  • 1 tsp. fine salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (I used the kind from Trader Joe’s with flax seeds, which is currently my favorite spoon-eating peanut butter)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 6 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 4 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease an 8-inch square baking pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper, leaving some overhang along two sides (this will help you easily lift the bars from the pan, once cooled).  Grease the parchment, as well.

Pulse 1/3 cup of the rolled oats in a food processor until finely ground.  Transfer the ground oats to a large bowl.

Add the remaining oats, sugar, nuts, coconut, chocolate chips, salt and cinnamon to the bowl of ground oats, and stir well.

In a slightly smaller bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, vanilla, melted coconut oil, honey and water until smooth.  Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, and stir together until everything is well-moistened and incorporated.

Use a rubber spatula to press the mixture into the prepared 8-inch pan, making sure to press well into the corners.  Bake the granola bars until the tops are nice and brown, 30-35 minutes.

Cool the bars in the pan on a wire rack.  Once completely cool, run a sharp knife around the edges of the pan and use the parchment paper to lift the bars from the pan.  Transfer to a cutting board and slice into bars or squares.  Store between pieces of parchment paper (to prevent the bars sticking to each other) airtight at room temperature – stored as such, granola bars will last for at least 1 week.

Makes about 16 squares, depending on how large or small you cut them.

This entry was posted in Breakfast, Cookies & Bars, Recipes, Snacks. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Chewy Granola Bars

  1. Afg says:

    School snacks, yeah! But what about liverwurst and pickle sandwiches?? Yikes??? Love these bars. Will def give them a try.

  2. Emily says:

    fashion update: you can wear white pants anytime! but maybe we shouldnt after eating these granola bars/cookies. but so worth it.

  3. I totally feel like you read my mind. I just said to myself yesterday that I needed to make granola bars because I have been finding myself without food at the end of the day and the other day ate a vector granola bar which a friend had given me and it was gross. We are obviously thinking on the same wavelength.

  4. Pingback: Fresh (& Homemade!) After School Snacks

  5. Erin says:

    I’m making these now. This is what happened:

    The kids gave me a terrible cold which led me to fall asleep watching daytime tv which led me to wake up to an episode of Dr Oz where they discussed eating for your hormonal health. The hormone expert lady explained how eating processed soy protein isolate adds way too much estrogen to your diet which leads to cancer, etc. This led me to purge my kitchen (slowly, with Kleenex near by). The only things that turned up were my Luna and Kind bars.

    So, here I am making these from scratch because I know what’s in them. Thank goodness for your recipe, apparently you just saved me from breast cancer, if it’s not too late already.

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