Soft Granola Bar Heaven

Homemade granola bars...
Homemade granola bars….

I bought nuts and seeds not that long ago at the insistence of the 4 and 9 year olds. They picked out pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, and pecan slivers. They then decided that everything needed to be thrown into a jar together except for the poor walnuts. They were not shown any love that day! In true kid fashion, they ate a couple of handfuls and decided that that was it! I was left with 2 quarts of seeds and nuts. I REFUSED to let it all go to waste! Realizing I had rolled oats made the light bulb go off in my head like magic….GRANOLA BARS!!!  My kids took a vote and unanimously decided this batch of granola was going to be soft and chewy. I got to decide the flavors. And the kids decided how each one was going to help in the process of making them.

The youngest decided that pushing the food processor buttons was her thing. The oldest decided that helping with the actual making of the bars was in her best interest, as she would become the taste tester of the group. Yep, you can see why she graduated a year early from high school.

Who does NOT want to be the guinea pig in this house???

OK, so there was this one time when it did NOT work out so hot to be the guinea pig in my house! I attempted to make homemade toothpaste. After about 6 different attempts and recipes that we were told were AWESOME….I HAVE BEEN BANNED FROM EVER MAKING HOMEMADE TOOTHPASTE AGAIN! We use Earthpaste now instead!!!

Earthpaste toothpaste
Earthpaste toothpaste

Back to the granola post….

The middle decided that she would help with the removing and creating the bars after they were done setting.

While most store bought granola bars contains an ingredient list like these do….

Ingredients:

Whole Grain Oats, High Maltose Corn Syrup, Crisp Rice (Rice Flour, Sugar, Maltodextrin, Salt, Mixed Tocopherols [Natural Preservative]), Natural Raspberry and Strawberry Flavored Fruit Pieces (Sugar, Dried Cranberries, Citric Acid), Natural Flavor, Elderberry Juice Concentrate, Sunflower Oil), Almonds, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Natural Blueberry Flavored Fruit Pieces (Sugar, Dried Cranberries, Blueberry Juice Concentrate, Citric Acid, Natural Flavor, Sunflower Oil), Honey, Fructose, Sugar, Sunflower Seed, Canola Oil, Rice Maltodextrin, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Citric Acid, Natural Flavor, Baking Soda, Peanut Flour.

What list of ingredients would be complete without a legal disclaimer included!

Legal Disclaimer
Actual product packaging and materials may contain more and different information than what is shown on our website. We recommend that you do not rely solely on the information presented and that you always read labels, warnings, and directions before using or consuming a product.

This ingredient list for both recipes of granola bars is far less complicated!

So what are the recipes we created???? You will have to wait and see!

I can hear you all yelling at me now “Onto the damn recipes already!!!!”

I will tell you now that these easy to make granola bars are very soft, very rich in flavor, very filling. OH. SO. FULL. OF. YUM!!!  Hope you enjoy them!

Mixed Berry and Dark Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Supply List:

2 cups Old fashioned rolled oats

2 cups Seed and nut mix

2 cups Dried Fruit Mix

1 cup Dark chocolate chips

1/2 cup Maple syrup

6 tbsp Oil (I used coconut oil)

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 tsp Almond Extract

Cinnamon (Optional but highly recommended!)

Food processor with blade

Mixing bowl

Scraper, spoon, spatula, or something to mix the thick concoction that will become granola bars.

Pot

Whisk

Parchment paper

Baking dish

Knife

NOTES:

Seed and nut mix….

Combine what ever kind of seeds and nuts you want to use for this. Almonds, pecans, walnuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc. There is no right or wrong combo. Mine were mixed in a jar all together so I measured them that way.

Nut and seed mix
Nut and seed mix

Dried fruit….

I used blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, and cherries. Other examples would be strawberries, peaches, pears, mango, pineapple, etc. Just like with the seed and nut mix, there is no right or wrong combo. I mixed all mine together in a bowl and measured them from there.

Fruit mix
Fruit mix

Directions:

Put the oats, seed and nut mix in the blender and blend until you get the consistency you want. My 4 year old decided that ours was going to be ground into oblivion (flour like consistency) and place in a mixing bowl with the berries.

Youngest controlling the food processor...
Youngest controlling the food processor…
Oats...
Oats…
Nut and seed mix...
Nut and seed mix…
HEAVILY Blended.....
HEAVILY Blended…..

In a pot add the maple syrup, the vanilla and almond extracts, oil, and cinnamon.

Liquid stuff....
Liquid stuff….

Heat on med until blended and a slight foam appears on the top. Whisk often to prevent burning.

Foam on top....
Foam on top….

Add the liquid to the oat mix. You can’t call it a granola mix yet.

Liquid being added to the mix....
Liquid being added to the mix….

Blend until you think you have it all mixed together and then blend it again. Repeat this process until you are positive you got it all mixed together. Say hello to the granola mix!!!

Oat mix with the berries....
Oat mix and berries being blended with the liquid…

Add in the dark chocolate chips and blend some more.

Dark chocolate chips....
Dark chocolate chips….

Why didn’t you just add them in the first time you mixed all the ingredients together? Because it was freaking hot, like molten lava hot! Chips would have melted immediately. Now, if you are all kinds of good with that? Get on with your bad ass self you rebel! For those that choose to wait a few to add the chips….you can either wait until the granola mix cools close to room temp or just until it cools enough to NOT melt the chips completely. Being the semi rebels this time, we decided to wait until it was semi cool. This is only because I was trying to find a measuring cup to actually give you a measurement on the chips. I am usually the dump, stir, and decide visually if it needs more kinda person. But I decided to try it the way MOST people do things. I am proud of myself! I still prefer my rebel method of cooking MUCH better then using the measuring cups.

Granola mixed with the dark chocolate chips...
Granola mixed with the dark chocolate chips…

Lay a HUGE sheet of parchment paper in the baking dish. Take the mix and dump it onto the parchment paper in the baking dish. Don’t panic when you discover that there is STILL oat mix that escaped the mixing with the liquids! Just mix it in like the pro you are! I will keep your secret. If you actually got it all mixed together…NO ONE LIKES A SHOW OFF!!!!

Granola mix on parchment paper...
Granola mix on parchment paper…

Once you get the mix in the baking dish, you need to get it to flatten out as much as possible and to also compress as much as possible. We used the bottom of my measuring cup to REALLY push down the granola mix. But you can use what ever you have on hand. Some people use cups, bowls, plates, etc.

Ready to go....
Ready to go….

Take the edges of the parchment paper and fold over the top of the baking dish covering the top of it. If your sheet isn’t big enough…sucks to be you. Time to start all over again! I am kidding!!!! Just take another sheet of parchment paper and fold it over top of the baking dish.

Parchment paper folded over the granola....
Parchment paper folded over the granola….

Stick it in the fridge for several hours. Minimum of 4-5 hours. If your house is like mine, it is almost impossible to get people to stay out of the baking dish. I like to make things like this at night. I send the kids to bed when it gets put in the fridge. It gives the granola a fighting chance!

Once it is completely cooled and “set”, take it out of the fridge and carefully pick it up out of the baking dish. If you did this right, your baking dish should still be clean. Which means you get to put it away and no one is the wiser!

Granola lifts out of the baking dish with no issues at all!
Granola lifts out of the baking dish with no issues at all!

Cut into what ever size bars you want. Or into bite size pieces.

Hubby needed to cut the bars instead of the middle.
Hubby decided to cut the bars instead of letting the middle.
Mixed berry and dark chocolate granola bars....
Mixed berry and dark chocolate granola bars….

Store in plastic wrap, parchment paper, or air tight container with parchment paper in between the layers.

Layering in am air tight container...
Layering in an air tight container…
Second row. I used parchment paper for in between the layers...
Second row. I used parchment paper for in between the layers….
3 rows of bars. The middle packed them instead of cut them....
3 rows of bars. The middle packed them instead of cut them….

These will last up to 2 weeks. Although I doubt they will last anywhere near that long!

ENJOY!

Marshmallow Dark Chocolate “Smores”

3 cups Old fashioned rolled oats

3 cups seed and nut mix

1/2 cup Maple syrup

1/2 cup Peanut Butter

6 tbsp Oil (I used coconut oil)

1 to 1 1/2 cups Mini marshmallows

1 to 1 1/2 cups Dark chocolate chips

Food processor with blade

Mixing bowl

Scraper, spoon, spatula, or something to mix the thick concoction that will become granola bars.

Pot

Whisk

Parchment paper

Baking dish

Knife

NOTES:

Seed and nut mix….

Combine what ever kind of seeds and nuts you want to use for this. Almonds, pecans, walnuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc. There is no right or wrong combo. Mine were mixed in a jar all together so I measured them that way.

Nut and seed mix
Nut and seed mix

Peanut butter….

I personally could care less what kind of peanut butter you use. I used extra crunchy here. It is our FAVORITE kind! If you want creamy or extra creamy….be my guest!

Extra crunchy peanut butter...
Extra crunchy peanut butter…

You will also note that there is no graham crackers in this recipe. It still tastes very similar to “smores”. Hence the word being in ” “.

Directions:

Put the oats, seed and nut mix in the blender and blend until you get the consistency you want. My 4 year old decided that ours was going to be ground into oblivion (flour like consistency) and place in a mixing bowl.

Oats...
Oats…
Nut and seed mix...
Nut and seed mix…
HEAVILY Blended.....
HEAVILY Blended…..

In a pot add the maple syrup, the vanilla extract, peanut butter and oil. Heat on med until blended and a slight foam appears on the top. Whisk often to prevent burning.

Peanut butter and the liquid ingredients....
Peanut butter and the liquid ingredients….
Ready to be added to the oat mix...
Ready to be added to the oat mix…

Add the liquid to the oat mix. You still can’t call it a granola mix yet.

Peanut butter liquid being added to the oat mix....
Peanut butter liquid being added to the oat mix….

Blend until you think you have it all mixed together and then blend it again. Repeat this process until you are positive you got it all mixed together. NOW you can call it granola mix!

Blending the peanut butter molten lava to the oat mix....
Blending the peanut butter molten lava to the oat mix….

Add in the marshmallows and blend some more. Why didn’t you just add them in the first time you mixed all the ingredients together? Because it was freaking hot, like molten lava hot! The marshmallows would have melted immediately. Now, if you are all kinds of good with that? Get on with your bad ass self you rebel! For those that choose to wait a few to add the marshmallows….you can either wait until the granola mix cools close to room temp (the marshmallows will probably not stick in the granola at all), or just until it cools enough to NOT melt the marshmallows completely. Being the semi rebels this time, we decided to wait until it was semi cool. This is only because I was once again trying to find a measuring cup to actually give you a measurement on the marshmallows and the dark chocolate chips. I am usually the dump, stir, and decide visually if it needs more kinda person. But I decided to try it, again,the way MOST people do things. I am proud of myself! Yep, I still prefer my rebel method of cooking MUCH better then using the measuring cups.

MARSHMALLOWS!
MARSHMALLOWS!
Marshmallows mixed into the granola mix...
Marshmallows mixed into the granola mix…
Dark chocolate chips....
Dark chocolate chips….
Granola mix ready to go into the baking dish...
Granola mix ready to go into the baking dish…

Lay a HUGE sheet of parchment paper in the baking dish. Take the mix and dump it onto the parchment paper in the baking dish. Don’t panic when you discover that there is STILL oat mix that escaped the mixing with the liquids! Just mix it in like the pro you are! I will keep your secret. If you actually got it all mixed together…AGAIN, NO ONE LIKES A SHOW OFF!!!! I AM JUST SAYING!!!!

Once you get the mix in the baking dish, you need to get it to flatten out as much as possible and to also compress as much as possible. We used the bottom of my measuring cup to PUSH down the granola mix. But you can use whatever you have on hand. Some people use cups, bowls, plates, etc.

Granola mix going into the baking dish....
Granola mix going into the baking dish….
Measuring cup PUSHING down the granola mix...
Measuring cup PUSHING down the granola mix….
Ready to be wrapped and head into the fridge!
Ready to be wrapped and head into the fridge!

Take the edges of the parchment paper and fold over the top of the baking dish covering the top of it. If your sheet isn’t big enough…sucks to be you. I am kidding!!!! Just take another sheet of parchment paper and fold it over top of the baking dish.

Wrapped....
Wrapped….

Stick it in the fridge for several hours. Minimum of 4-5 hours. Just like the other recipe, I still like to make things like this at night. I send the kids to bed when it gets put in the fridge. It gives the granola a fighting chance of surviving until it is “set”!

Once it is completely cooled and “set”, take it out of the fridge and carefully pick it up out of the baking dish. If you did this right, your baking dish should still be clean. Which means you get to put it away and no one is the wiser!

Granola lifts out of the baking dish with no issues at all!
Granola lifts out of the baking dish with no issues at all!

Cut into what ever size bars you want. Or into bite size pieces. Store in plastic wrap, parchment paper, or air tight container with parchment paper in between the layers. These will last up to 2 weeks. Although I doubt they will last anywhere near that long!

"Smores" granola bars...
Marshmallow dark chocolate “smores” granola bars…

ENJOY!

Incredibly rich granola bars unlike anything we have ever had here....
Incredibly rich granola bars unlike anything we have ever had here….
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