I love those crunchy Nature Valley Granola Bars, so I thought this would be a good recipe to try. It originated from Americas’s Test Kitchen, but I actually found these granola bars on Bakerlady. I adapted the recipe by making them into Honey Almond Granola Bars by using almond extract instead of vanilla, canola oil instead of vegetable oil, adding a little extra salt, and leaving out the cinnamon, since I didn’t want it to take away from the almond flavor. I also added some milled flaxseed for extra fiber. I liked the way these turned out, so I plan on making them regularly! They don’t taste exactly like Nature Valley Granola Bars, but they have the same great crunchy texture. Since I eat a lot of granola bars, I’m sure I will save money making them myself! Making your own granola bars is also much more eco-friendly, too, when you think of all the packaging used for those store-bought bars.
This recipe works best in a 13 x 18″ pan; if you make it in a 10 x 15″ pan the bars will be thicker and harder to cut. Also, you should not use quick-cooking oats–be sure to use Old Fashioned Oats!
CRUNCHY HONEY ALMOND GRANOLA BARS by NancyC, adapted from Bakerlady
Makes a 13 x 18″ pan (about 24 to 30 bars, depending on the size you cut them)
- 7 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup honey
- 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 to 1 1/2 Tablespoons almond extract (if you just use 1 Tablespoon, the almond flavor will be very, very mild)
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons milled or whole flaxseeds or wheat germ (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped or sliced almonds
Adjust oven rack to the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 375˚F.
Line a 13 x 18″ rimmed baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, oil, and salt, mixing until oats are evenly coated. Transfer mixture to baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Bake, stirring oats every 10 minutes, until pale gold, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove pan from oven and lower temperature to 300˚F.
Combine honey and brown sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and stir in the almond extract.
In large bowl, combine the oats, flaxseed or wheat germ (if using), and almonds, mixing until ingredients are blended well. Then add the honey mixture and stir with a large spoon or rubber spatula until the oats are thoroughly coated with the honey mixture.
Spray the baking sheet, still lined with foil or parchment paper, with non-stick spray and spread the granola mixture in an even layer on the sheet. Spray a large spoon or metal spatula with non-stick spray and firmly press the mixture into the pan. Make a flat, tight, even layer. Bake at 300˚F until golden, about 35 minutes.
Cool granola in baking sheet, on a wire rack, for 10 minutes before cutting into bars with a knife or pastry scraper. Cut bars all the way through (2 x 3″ is a good size), then allow the bars to completely cool. Do not wait any longer than 10 minutes to cut the bars because they harden up as they cool and become difficult to cut.
You can put the bars in a covered container and store for up to 2 weeks.
NOTE: You can make Cinnamon Walnut Granola Bars by substituting vanilla extract for the almond extract, chopped walnuts (or pecans) for the almonds, and adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of cinnamon to the honey and brown sugar mixture.
Do you like crunchy or chewy granola bars–and do you have a favorite granola bar recipe?
Linked to Inspire Me Monday.