I have been experimenting with homemade granola bars for a while now. I just couldn't get it right. Last week it was our day to bring a healthy snack to our childbirth prep class. I thought I should look for a new recipe for granola bars. I got searching and found one that looked good. Of course it was off of smittenkitchen.com, one of my favorite sites for recipes. Her recipe looked great and the bars looked chewy, which was what I wanted. I decided to try it out, and of course I tweaked it a bit. When I make homemade treats I try to make them healthier than a store bought version. That means no preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup, no extra sugar, and only natural ingredients. Her recipe called for corn syrup, which I try to avoid, so I made some changes and everything came out delicious! Here is my recipe for Apricot Coconut Granola Bars.
1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/3 cup oat flour (if you can't find oat flour like me, then grind the oats in a food processor until finely ground.)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups chopped dried apricots (I chopped them in the food processor.)
1 cup shredded coconut
7 tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp water
Preheat oven to 350.
(I chopped the dried apricots and coconut in the food processor until they were tiny bits. I did the apricots first and then when they were just about the right size I added the coconut.)
Stir together all dry ingredients, including apricots and coconut. In a separate bowl combine melted butter and all the wet ingredients. Then pour the wet into the dry stirring to evenly coat. Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper with the edges hanging over and spray all sides of the pan. Pour the mixture into your pan and press firmly down. You want to make sure that you press firmly to make sure that everything binds together and will hold once it is baked and cut.
Bake the bars for 30 -40 minutes. Check to see they are browned on the edges and maybe even in the center a bit too. Take out of the oven and cool the bars completely before taking out and cutting. You might even want to place in the fridge after they are cooled to help with the cutting.
Using the paper that was hanging over the edge take the bars out of the pan and cut into little squares. I made 16 total but you can cut them any way you want.
These are super yummy and we had none leftover from our class. Patrick was very sad and made me promise to make some more for us to eat. So I did!
I also made a chocolate peanut butter version. For that instead of apricots and coconut I added about 2 cups of mini chocolate chips and into the wet I added 1/3 cup chunky peanut butter, a natural no sugar added brand like Adams. Of course I was meaning to make a peanut butter chocolate chip bar but forgot that when you add warm melted butter to they dry ingredients it would melt the chips. Oops. So it ended up just being a chocolate peanut butter bar. You could add the chocolate chips right before baking if you don't want them to melt. It's good either way I'm sure, we had none of those left either.
Now that you have this recipe you can play around with the ingredients. Instead of the apricots and coconut just add 2-3 cups of your favorite fruit and nut combination and see what you get! Hope you love this as much as we do!!