Cooking for your Health: Homemade Granola Bars

In this installment of Cooking for your Health, the theme is brain food: Healthy high energy snack food that’s a perfect pick-me-up during the work or school day or following a workout, providing a nutritional boost of energy which improves concentration and stamina. A diet rich in iron, B vitamins, essential fatty acids and complex carbohydrates comprises a winning menu for your brain, increasing focus and memory. While nailing the nutrition may be easier to accomplish when preparing a sit-down meal, it’s often difficult to find in a snack when you are grabbing food on the go. What can you eat that’s portable, delicious and healthy? Look no further than these homemade granola bars.

The beauty of homemade granola bars is that you can pick and choose your ingredients, omitting excess sugars, fat and additives without sacrificing flavor. These granola bars are studded with dried fruit and nuts, including anti-oxidant rich blueberries and almonds, B-vitamin heavy lifters oats, coconut and wheat germ, and coconut oil which provides lauric acid, known for its anti-oxidant and antibacterial properties. Come to think about it, snacking never felt or tasted so good.

Homemade Granola Bars

Feel free to substitute the fruit with other dried fruit such as raisins, cherries, dates or figs to your taste. Walnuts may be used in place of the almonds. Recipe adapted from Ina Garten. Makes approximately 24 small bars.

2 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup coarsely chopped raw almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened grated coconut
1/2 cup raw wheat germ
3 tablespoons coconut oil or unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C. Butter a 9 inch by 12 inch (20 x 30 cm.) baking pan. Line with parchment and butter the parchment. Toss oats, almonds, coconut and wheat germ together in a bowl. Pour onto a rimmed baking sheet and spread evenly. Bake until fragrant and lightly toasted, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 300 F/150 C. Heat coconut oil, brown sugar and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Pour over the oats, mixing to thoroughly combine. Stir in the dried fruit. Spread batter in the prepared pan, spreading to firmly and evenly distribute. Bake in oven until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove and cool completely in pan until firm, at least 2 hours. Cut into squares or rectangles. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

20 responses to “Cooking for your Health: Homemade Granola Bars

  1. OK, I have never made granola bars – confession – time to try some with this recipe in hand…

  2. I’ve been following Ina’s recipe for these bars for years! I love to make a batch on Sunday night so we have them for the week.

  3. Delicious bars! Healthy and so enjyoable. Something I could eat everyday.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  4. Looks delicious! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  5. You know, I’ve been meaning to make some granola bars of my own but somehow I haven’t been convinced. Until now that is!

  6. princessnorncooks

    I love Ina Garten’s recipe! I have adapted it myself (http://princessnorncooks.com/2012/02/10/homemade-granola/). Definitely not as healthy as your adaptation, but great on some Greek yogurt or for a little after dinner snack. I found the honey overwhelming, so used agave also to cut down on the honey flavor.

  7. God I am totally inspired, I have been thinking of making granola at home but lazy me…
    This looks wonderful, I am totally inspired now…

  8. I’ve been making my own granola for awhile now, and have thought about making granola bars, but just somehow don’t sit down to figure it out. Thanks for the nudge and a great recipe to do it with. Have a great week!

  9. These is similar to a recipe of mine.. they’re totally addicting so it’s a good thing they’re healthy as well:) Love your photos today too! xo Smidge

  10. I’ve yet to find a homemade granola bar that I really love, but I’m thinking you may have just handed it to me.

  11. So you butter the pan and the parchment paper then butter the parchment paper in the pan? Making now and thinking… “hmmm… not sure if I’m doing this right.”

    • Kim: Butter the pan. Line the pan with parchment paper. Then butter the exposed surface of the parchment paper. Enjoy! – Lynda

      ________________________________

  12. I’m excited to try these. They sound great!

  13. Hi everyone, I am going to attempt these for my sons football team but was wondering about using chocolate chips and then making a peanut butter version. Any suggestions? PS I am not a very good cook so easy is the key here ;) thank you!

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