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homemade granola bars close up in wrappers
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Homemade Granola Bars

Tired of paying over $5 a box for granola bars?  These Homemade Chewy Granola Bars are probably one of the easiest grocery store swaps you can make at home, and flavor just the way you like them!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Cooling Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 25 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Granola Bars
Servings: 12 Bars
Author: Erin | Butter and Bliss

Ingredients

Granola Bars

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional Mix-Ins

  • 1/2 cup sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts I use pecans, but any nut will do
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, lightly chopped
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions

Toasted coconut

  • Preheat the oven to 325F degrees.  Evenly spread the coconut flakes on a small baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.  Toast for 5 - 7 minutes, stirring the coconut with a spatula half-way through.  The coconut will toast very quickly, so stay close to the oven to make sure it does not burn!

Granola Bars

  • Heat the oven to 350F degrees.  Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  • Spread the oats and nuts (if you are using) evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 8 - 10 minutes, until lightly toasted.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  • While the oats and nuts are toasting, combine the butter, brown sugar, honey, water (which helps the sugar to dissolve), and salt in a medium saucepan.  Cook on medium heat until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolves.  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.  
  • Pour the mixture over the oats and nuts and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until all of the oats are covered.   Then mix in any of the other mix-ins, except for chocolate chips.  If you are using chocolate chips, let the mixture cool for 10 - 15 minutes before adding, so the chocolate doesn't completely melt.  You may have a little melt, but that is ok as it acts as an extra binder for the oats!
  • Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or wax paper (my preference is wax paper, but if you use parchment paper, spray lightly with cooking spray).  Use enough paper so that it reaches the top of the pan.  This makes it easy to lift the granola mixture out of the pan to slice.
  • Pour the oat mixture into the prepared baking pan.  Using a spatula or the bottom of a lightly greased measuring cup, firmly press the mixture into the pan evenly.  Do not skimp on this process!  This makes sure the mixture can be cut into bars that stay together and don't fall apart!
  • Chill the granola bars for at least 2 hours.  Lift the bars from the pan using the edges of the paper and place them on a cutting board to cut.  Use a very sharp chef's knife to cut the bars.  You can cut evenly into 12, 4-inch long bars, or any other shape or size you prefer.  Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  1. The bars store well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 7 - 10 days.  I recommend wrapping each bar in a small piece of wax paper or parchment paper so they don't stick together.
  2. This recipe is so versatile that any mix-in combination of your preference can work.  I recommend keeping the total amount of mix-ins to 1 and 1/2 cups.
  3. I use water in the syrup mixture to help the brown sugar dissolve.  The mixture will still be nice and syrupy when done!
  4. Press, press, press the mixture into the baking dish!  I cannot stress this enough so that your bars stay bars, and not loose granola.