We have a history with granola bars.
A long time ago, we shared a cooking failure. The subject was granola bars. They tasted great, but fell apart. So, we sort of gave up and moved on with the thought that one day, we would be ready to give them another shot.
After two years, we’ve picked up where we left off and have now figured out how to make these simple, soft and chewy granola bars. We’re in love. They taste great, are incredibly easy to make and they absolutely do not fall apart (see our tips below).
A Granola Bars Recipe That’s Completely Flexible
We’ve made these many times now and every time, they’ve been just a little bit different. Here, you see whole almonds, dried cranberries and mini chocolate chips. We’ve also used dried cherries, apricots and unsweetened coconut. We’re even thinking about adding pistachios next time.
The possibilities are endless — all you need to know is the base. Oats, butter, honey and brown sugar. After that, add what you like.
Tips for Making the Bars
After a few tries, we’ve found that it’s really important to press the granola mixture into the pan. We’ve actually spent about a minute pressing before — the harder and longer you press, the less chance you’ll end up with granola instead of granola bars.
The honey and brown sugar really helps with keeping the bars together. Chocolate chips added to the mixture help, too. We add some to the granola mixture while it is still warm. You might notice some of the chocolate melts — this is totally okay, it acts as extra glue, holding the bars together. After that, we add more chocolate chips to the top — these don’t melt.
Finally, we like to refrigerate the granola mixture for about 2 hours. This hardens everything and makes it easy to cut the granola mixture into bars. Right out of the refrigerator the bars will be hard since they are cold. Leave them out for an hour and they will warm to room temperature and become a little softer and chewy.
The bars keep at room temperature for about 1 week (if they last that long). Just make sure they are tightly covered or sealed in a container.
Share Your Ideas
I bet you can come up with some amazing ideas. What would you include in your homemade granola bars? We’d just love it if you shared them in the comments below.
You may also like:
- These granola bars were inspired and adapted by Love and Olive Oil’s Cherry Almond Nib Granola Bars Recipe
- Or you could take a look at Smitten Kitchen’s Thick, Chewy Granola Bars (they look pretty awesome)
- We’ve also shared a Homemade Vanilla, Almond and Honey Granola Recipe, which we bet you’ll like, too — it’s so easy
What you need to know. While these are very simple to make, there is a 2-hour wait for the bars to firm up enough to cut. Feel free to add your favorite dried fruit, nuts or chocolate to these - it’s completely up to you. Since we use a 1/3 cup of honey, we like to splurge on higher quality honey.
Equipment you’ll need. You’ll need a small baking sheet, 8-inch or 9-inch square pan, aluminum foil, small saucepan, large bowl, rubber spatula and chef’s knife.
- 2 1/2 cups (230 grams) old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup (80 grams) whole almonds, coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup (113 grams) honey
- 1/4 cup (56 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (60 grams) dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (67 grams) mini chocolate chips
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Line bottom and sides of a 8-inch or 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil. Then lightly oil or spray with cooking spray.
- Add oats and almonds to a small baking sheet then bake 5 minutes, stir and bake another 3 to 5 minutes until lightly toasted. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Combine butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla extract and the salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until butter melts and the sugar completely dissolves.
- Pour butter mixture in to bowl with toasted oats and almonds. Mix well. Let cool about 5 minutes then add cranberries and a 1/4 cup of the mini chocolate chips. Stir to combine. (The chocolate chips will most likely melt a little. This is fine, they turn into glue and help to hold the bars together).
- Transfer oat mixture to lined pan then use a rubber spatula or damp finger tips to firmly press the mixture into the pan. (Press hard here, this way the bars will stay together once cooled and cut -- We press for about one minute to be extra safe).
- Scatter remaining 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips over pressed granola mixture then use a rubber spatula to gently press them into the top. Cover then refrigerate at least 2 hours.
- Remove block of granola mixture from pan then peel away aluminum foil. Cut into 12 bars.
- Store bars in an airtight container for up to one week. For the softest bars, keep at room temperature. For slightly harder bars, store in the fridge.