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The Best Dang Granola Bars Ever {EVER.}

The Best Dang Granola Bars EVER are NO BAKE, loaded with oats, nuts, dried fruit, and covered in chocolate.

The Best Dang Granola Bars Ever

Okay so these are the Best Dang Granola Bars Ever.

And when I say Ever, I mean EVER. Until I make another one that tops it. But for now puh-leez buh-leeev that these are IT.

I’ve been living and breathing granola bars for about a week now, which seems like a weird obsession in lieu of the freezing cold weather that we all can’t stop talking about. I maybe should have been baking bread or something, but granola bars are WHERE IT’S AT.

Oh. And since we are talking about cold weather… I just realized that it’s been a hot minute since I updated you guys on Norma Kitty Jean. If you have no idea who Norma Jean is, just enter her name in the search bar up there. Enough crazy cat pictures to last you a lifetime.

Homemade Granola Bars with Chocolate

Anyway. There is this kitty who I alternately call ‘Porch Kitty’ and ‘Buddy’ because he is my buddy and basically lives on my porch. I think he belongs to the neighbors but we all know how that works out.

Total sucker that I am, I’ve been feeding this guy for months, made him a little kitty shelter outside, and put old sweatshirts in the dryer for him to snuggle with on cold nights.

Shhhhhhh.                                             I know.

So I started seeing weather reports last week about the freakish cold and I immediately started to worry about my Porch Kitty. Then I got a text message from my mom reading, “Hope your outside kitty will be ok!!!”

The Best Dang Granola Bars Ever

And now you guys know where I get it from.

The wind started blowing and it got COLD. Fast. Chad and I were walking in the door and there was Buddy sitting on the steps. I’m sure you know what happened next.

So Buddy aka Porch Kitty aka Norma Jean’s Worst Nightmare came in and purred and snuggled Lucy Dog on the couch while she gave me crazy eyes like, “Is this guy serious?”      

And the answer is yes. Yes he is so snuggle serious.  It all fell apart when Norma Jean figured out there was an intruder.

The Best Homemade Granola Bars

My girl, diva to the max that she is, HATES this cat. When he was outside she routinely tried to smack his face through the window. Inside she followed him through the house hissing and giving him the stink eye. She was appalled that I thought she should share her food.

She went to hide under the bed. Buddy made the mistake of trying to be friends. Norma Jean smacked him in the face and returned to her sulking under a different bed.

Drama.

So that’s your update. Norma hates everyone, does not like to share, and is the Queen of the World.

                                                  {but I let Buddy sleep on the couch anyway}

Granola Bars are a drama-free zone. These are no-bake (well… you have to toast the oats but that doesn’t count), no fuss, low sugar, drizzled in dark chocolate, stuffed full of nuts and seeds and dried fruit and whatever else you can jam in there.

They are awesome for a snack, perfect for breakfast on the run, will fit in your fanny pack at the gym (but please don’t wear a fanny pack. please.), and are pretty much all-around awesome. REALLY the best.

If you don’t have lots of food stuffs on hand to put in granola bars (because maybe you all don’t hoard almonds, chocolate chips, and dried cranberries like I do), I know a shortcut! Grab a bag of your favorite trail mix. All the nuts and fruits are already in there! Some of them even have M & M’s.

The Best Dang Granola Bars Ever

I made these granola bars for the Leftovers Club! Leftovers Club was a group of food bloggers that got together to share the inevitable leftovers that come from testing and re-testing recipes.

If you are interested in tips and tricks on treats you can mail [like granola bars!] scroll past this printable recipe.

The Best Dang Granola Bars Ever {EVER.}

The Best Dang Granola Bars Ever {EVER.}

Yield: 12-16 bars
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

The best dang homemade granola bars ever! Stuffed full of toasted oats, seeds, dried fruit, nuts, honey, maple syrup, and dark chocolate. These are a staple around here! The active cook time in this recipe is short but you will need to allow time for the bars to set up.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups old fashioned oats (if GF is important to you use certified GF oats)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries (or other add-ins such as raisins or other dried fruits - chopped if you need to, nuts, sunflower seeds, pepitas, chocolate chips; all your favorite things!)
  • 5 ounces dark chocolate

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and scatter the oats in a 9 X 13 pan. Let them toast, stirring at least once, for about 15 minutes. When they are done they will look slightly golden and you will smell the toasty oats.
  2. Line a 9 X 9 pan with parchment paper or foil. You want a piece large enough that the sides will come back over and cover the top of the bars once you fill the pan.
  3. While the oats toast heat the oil in a small saucepan on the stove. Add the brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  4. Bring it to a simmer over medium high heat. Stir to make sure the brown sugar dissolves, and turn the heat off.
  5. Put the toasted oats in a large bowl. Pour the hot liquid over the oats and stir to coat evenly. Stir in all your add-ins. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan.
  6. Fold the parchment or foil over the top of the granola in the pan and PRESS to fill the corners and flatten. Keep pressing and smooth the granola out so that it is even across the pan.
  7. Let the granola bars set up in a cool dry place for at least an hour. They will set faster in the freezer. I like to make mine in the evening and let them set up overnight.
  8. Turn them out of the pan onto a cutting board. Peel the parchment or foil away. Slice down the middle and then cut each half into 6 bars. Lay the bars on a clean piece of parchment or foil. Melt the chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat. Use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate over the sliced bars. Let it set up and ENJOY!

Notes

  • grapeseed oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, melted coconut oil -- any will work here. I do not love the flavor of olive oil in this recipe but using what you like matters.
  • GOOD dark chocolate makes a difference! The less sweet the better, but you wanna like the taste, so pick your favorite!
  • If you are feeling very fancy you can spoon a strip of chocolate onto the parchment, place the granola bars on top, and then drizzle more over the top of the bar. This will give it a chocolate back kind of like a Luna bar.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 321 Total Fat: 15g Saturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 10g Cholesterol: 1mg Sodium: 493mg Carbohydrates: 44g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 27g Protein: 7g

 For this month I was partnered with Joanne from Joanne Eats Well With Others which might be full of my favorite vegetarian recipes ever ever in the world. She made me Meyer Lemon Macarons with perfect little feet. So excited.

If you want to know more about mailing treats…

How to Ship Baked Goods

Start with this post on How to Ship Baked Goods

Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Cookies

…and then mail someone these Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies.

 

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Trish

Tuesday 24th of September 2019

I wanted to mail these in a care package. Do you have any idea how long they will stay good?

Heather Tullos

Saturday 28th of September 2019

They will keep for about 10 days without the chocolate; adding the chocolate might make mailing tricky this time of year

Deb

Tuesday 19th of February 2019

I realize you can use just about anything you want for the add ins. (I would have a hard time deciding what to put in, I love them all) but my questions are 1. Can you use quick cooking oats (I never buy the old fashion ones)and 2. Could you use maple flavored pancake syrup for the maple syrup. Here you can buy a steak or two for what a very small bottle would cost you. Not to mention when I do get my hands on a bottle I have to hide it. Lol two many sweet teeth around this house.

Kaitlin

Wednesday 23rd of January 2019

These are so yummy! The only thing I ran into a problem with was adding chocolate chunks into my mix ins. When I poured the wet ingredients and stirred my chocolate chips melted.

Jeffrey Wong

Sunday 18th of March 2018

I like this one, but I also like the SIMPLER five ingredient recipe at MinimalistBaker.com..

Their instructions: put the dry parts in a bowl. Heat up and stir the liquid/gooey parts and add them to the dry parts. Spread it onto parchment paper in a 9x13 baking pan, lay parchment paper on top and put an 8x8 baking pan in one corner on top of that.

NO BAKING.

Stand on the 8x8 pan and repeat in the other three corners of the 9x13 . That should compresse the bars nicely. After a couple hours in the fridge, cut it into bars and serve or vacuum seal them for future snacks!

I did it with dried blueberries today. I used sunflower seeds for the almonds in their recipe, nutritious, small enough not to need chopping up like almonds would and less spendy.

I want to do it again, but will try a wire type potato masher to blend ingredients instead of stirring.

Jess

Saturday 23rd of December 2017

This recipe sounded so great, but totally didn't work for me. They never really set and just crumbled when trying to cut them :((. I let them set overnight in the fridge, so I'm not sure what went wrong