To date, this is the best homemade granola bar I’ve made. Admittedly, I haven’t made all that many but I can often tell just by the ingredients or picture whether or not they will please my palette. I liked the looks of these right away. You might recognize them if you follow The Pioneer Woman, (though her pictures are much prettier than mine!).
Of course, in true Zoe fashion, I switched things up a bit. Less sugar being the main switcharoo.
I liked these for several reasons. First, they aren’t dry like some granola bars I’ve tried. I mean, they are dry as in “not juicy” but they aren’t dry like, hmm, saltine cracker dry. Ick. Second, they don’t contain peanut butter. As much as I love the stuff, I just don’t prefer it in my granola bars. Third, they aren’t super dense. I think the rice crispies help with that. I know they are processed but there aren’t too many in this large batch. And fourth, they look neat! I like the chocolate bottoms.
Try these puppies. I think you might be pleasantly surprised by how much you like them.
Chocolate Dipped Granola Bars
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman’s recipe
6 cups (21 oz) rolled (old-fashioned) oats
1/4 (1 7/8 oz) cup peanut oil
1/4 cup (2 oz) melted butter
1 t salt
1/2 cup (6 oz) honey
1/2 cup (3 oz) Sucanat or brown sugar
1/4 cup (3 oz) mild molasses
1/4 cup (2 oz) fruit juice (apple, pear, peach, whatever is in your fridge)
1 T vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups rice crispies
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup chopped almonds
3/4 cup pecan meal (ground up pecans)
12 oz chocolate (milk, dark, whatever)
Combine the oats, oil, butter, and salt in a big bowl. Dump the mixture onto two half-sheet pans and spread it out. (No need to grease the pans.) Bake at 350 degrees until golden, about 20 minutes, stirring a time or two. Remove from oven and dump back into the big bowl.
In a sauce pot, combine the honey, Sucanat, molasses, and juice. Cook over medium heat until Sucanat is dissolved. No need to completely boil it. Stir in the vanilla.
To the oats in the bowl, add the rice crispies, nuts, and pecan meal. Mix up and then pour the sticky sugar mixture over all and stir to combine.
Now prepare your baking sheet. You’ll need a big old half-sheet pan. Cover it with foil and then grease the foil good. Ree (the Pioneer Woman) warned that these stick to everything so I took her suggestion and took great precaution. When the sheet is prepared, pour the granola mixture on it and level it out. I greased the back of a flat spatula and gently pressed all over the pan to make them a pretty even thickness. My fingers did not do the job. Even when I greased them, the oats still stuck all over me.
So, pop these in a 325 degree oven and bake for about 20 or 25 minutes. You pretty much just need them to set up. No need to fry them here. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan.
When cool, slide the whole thing out onto the counter. Peel the foil off the back and then proceed to cut them, using a good sharp knife, into whatever size you wish. I went with 1 1/2 by 3-inch rectangles. I believe I got about 42 granola bars.
Now melt your chocolate…double boiler or microwave. When melted, take a granola bar and gently tap it on the counter to remove any loose oats or nuts. Then dip the bottom half in the chocolate. Set it on a parchment paper lined baking sheet to set up. Repeat with remaining bars. You can refrigerate them to speed up the set-up process. Then wrap each one in a bit of plastic wrap or put in an airtight container between layers of wax paper.
Note: those loose bits and chunks of granola that fall off the bars…save them and eat them on top of yogurt or with milk for your breakfast.
Yield: 42 small granola bars