Portable, Kid-Friendly and Packed with Goodness
Store shelves are lined with more granola bars than you could possibly count, but making your own has some huge benefits. Not only will you know exactly what is going into your kids' mouths, but you can also tailor each batch to their favorite ingredients and have a healthy snack ready for after school or at the park. Final bonus: Kids can help with this simple recipe, which might make them more likely to eat the final product!
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Serves: 10 to 12 (makes 1 9-inch pan)
- 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup nuts or seeds
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup dried cherries
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
The last 3 ingredients listed are flexible and easy to substitute. If you don't have any dried cherries, use dried cranberries or raisins. If your children don't like coconut, use puffed rice cereal or simply leave it out. No mini chocolate chips? Use larger chips or peanut butter chips, or melt some chocolate and drizzle it over the top of the bars before refrigerating.
- Prepare a standard 9-inch square baking pan by coating it with cooking spray.
- In a shallow pan over medium heat on the stovetop, toast the oats and nuts or seeds, tossing regularly, for 5 to 10 minutes or until they are fragrant and beginning to turn light golden brown.
- In a large bowl, whisk the honey with the coconut oil and brown sugar. Microwave on medium heat for 15 seconds; the mixture should be warm and runny. Whisk in the vanilla extract.
- Add the oats and nuts or seeds to the bowl with the wet ingredients. Use a spatula to toss the mixture until it is uniformly moist. Fold in the dried cherries and coconut.
- Empty the mixture into the baking pan and spread it around evenly with the spatula. Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips over the mixture and use the spatula to press them down.
- Refrigerate the mixture for at least two hours before cutting into 10 to 12 rectangles and serving or storing in an airtight container.
If your wet ingredients are still warm when you combine them with the oats and nuts, the chocolate chips will melt into the mixture. That's why pressing the chips on top can be a better option. However, if you want the chocolate swirled in to each bar, fold the chips in with the rest of the ingredients and stir until they are melted.
Carly Schuna has been freelance writing and editing for more than a decade. She enjoys putting a creative spin on pieces from her specialty areas of wellness, food and fitness, working to help people save money while maximizing their health. In recipe developing, she loves finding ways to put a healthy spin on the classics to boost nutrition for the whole family without sacrificing taste.