These homemade granola bars are so much better than what you can buy at the store, especially since you can substitute for your favorite dried fruit or nuts. 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.
2 1/2 cups (230 grams) old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup (80 grams) whole almonds, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup (113 grams) pure 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 fine sea salt
1/2 cup (60 grams) dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (65 grams) mini chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the bottom and sides of a 8-inch or 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
Add the oats and chopped almonds to a small baking sheet, and then bake for 5 minutes, stir and then bake another 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly toasted. Transfer to a large bowl.
Combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla extract and the salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until butter melts, the mixture is bubbling and the sugar completely dissolves.
Pour the butter mixture into the bowl with toasted oats and almonds. Mix well. Let cool about 5 minutes, and then add the cranberries and a 1/4 cup of the mini chocolate chips. Stir to combine. Some of the chocolate chips will melt a little. This is fine, they turn into glue and help to hold the bars together.
Transfer the oat mixture to the prepared pan, and 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 the remaining 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips over the pressed granola mixture, and then use a rubber spatula to gently press them into the top. Cover then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or freeze for about 30 minutes. Remove the block of granola mixture from pan then peel away the foil or parchment. Cut into 12 bars.
Store granola 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. Bars will keep in the freezer for up to three months when wrapped well.