With peanut allergies in our family and because I like to have as many whole foods in our diet as possible I have tried, and modified, many different granola bar recipes. This is my go-to recipe. These granola bars are soft and sweet and disappear quickly. They are easy to change up for adding variety or to accommodate friends with allergies.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F (165 C). Lightly grease a 9x13" glass baking pan. I like to use butter for this.
In a mixing bowl combine 4 Cups Oats, 1 C Puffed Rice, 1 C Whole Wheat Flour, 1 tsp Baking Soda, 1 tsp Vanilla, 1 C softened Butter, 3/4 C Honey, 1/4 C Coconut Sugar, and 2 C Chocolate Chips (or other add-ins).
Press the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 18-20 min. At this point I press the bars back down and let them cool before cutting them and wrapping them up for storage.
Sometimes the bars get eaten right out of the pan, but I like to wrap them individually in plastic wrap to pack up for snacks on the go. I have even cut them in squares and served them as "cookies" to the kiddos at church.
You can play around with the ingredients to make these your own. Sometimes I like to add wheat germ or flax seed. You could add raisins, nuts, flaked coconut, etc. For a gluten free bar, substitute another flour for the whole wheat flour.
I choose to use local raw honey. It is less processed and is said to also help with reducing allergies. I also recently discovered coconut sugar, recommended to me by a friend. It is made from fresh coconut tree sap collected from cut flower buds and is less processed than most sugar you buy in the store. It also has a lower glycemic index than sugar cane. Coconut sugar can be used straight across as a substitute for sugar and I find that it has almost a brown sugar taste to it. Feel free to use brown sugar in this recipe if you don't have coconut sugar. You could increase the honey and omit the sugar altogether. You could even try pure maple syrup, that could be fun.
I'd love to hear from you if you try this recipe. What are your favorite combinations of flavors for granola bars? Do you have a family favorite granola bar recipe?