Homemade Granola Bars

It's January. There are two things about January that are indisputable: it's freezing cold outside and we're all desperate to follow our New Year's Resolutions. Part of my New Year's Resolution is to live healthier and, like many of you, that means cutting out the "junk". No processed food. Fewer salty snacks. No soda. Whole wheat flour instead of white. The list goes on.

And though I may not stick to every resolution I've made, there are a few that are so easy to follow, why wouldn't I? One of the easiest ways to get healthier is to replace store-bought snacks with handmade versions. Many are simple to make and contain shockingly less sugar, salt and, of course, are free of any pseudo-artificial ingredients (like gums and stabilizers).

Today was my first foray into homemade granola bars and I swear these are so good I'm never going back to store-bought.

These granola bars are tender and soft, but with a nice little crunch around the edges. They have no processed sugar (um, awesome!) and no flour. Plus they're packed with crunchy nuts, dried fruit and even chocolate chips.

Today I'm sharing my recipe, adapted from here. Feel free to play with the amount of fruit and nuts when you make it at home, as I'm sure I will in future iterations!

Homemade Chewy Granola Bars

Makes about 20 bars.

  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal
  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup rice syrup (found in most health food stores)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons blackberry jam* (or any jam, preferably homemade)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 275 F. Line a 9 x 11-inch baking pan with parchment paper, then spray lightly with oil.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir well (it's stick, use your hands to make it easier!). Using wet fingers press the mixture into the prepared pan and bake it for 1 hour.

Allow the bars to cool thoroughly while they are still in the pan before cutting. Makes about twenty bars.

*ALTERNATIVE: Another ratio of sweeteners that you may like is 1/3 cup rice syrup and 1/3 cup maple syrup and no jam. You could also use honey instead of maple syrup. As long as you have about 2/3 cup liquid sweetener in the whole batch, your granola bars should turn our just fine.

STORAGE: Store in a sealed container for up to 5 days. For longer shelf life, place them in the fridge and I imagine they'll be good for up to a month. You could also freeze these and defrost as needed or put individual bars in a child's lunchbox to defrost by lunchtime.