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The Best Granola Bars

March 6, 2010

I am so happy to finally post this recipe. Granola bars are challenging- you want to create a bar that sticks together but isn’t packed with sugar.

These are full of healthy fats from the flaxseed, nuts, and of course the peanut butter. This particular variation works with either New York Maple or Adirondack Jack Saratoga Peanut Butter.

What I like about the version I finally settled on is the ratio of peanut butter to honey. I didn’t want something with more sugar than peanut butter. I chose honey as my sweetener because it’s a great natural sweetener that you can find at any Farmers’ Market. Honey has trace minerals and the flavor pairs so nicely with dried fruit and nuts. If you are a non-honey eating vegan, you can substitute brown rice syrup for the honey. Maple syrup and agave nectar will be too thin for this recipe.

In making several (five!!) variations of this recipe, I found there are a few crucial steps that ensure granola bar success.

1. Salt and toast your oats. Shake rolled oats with 1 tbsp oil, 1 tbsp honey and 1/3 tsp salt then toast for 10- 15 minutes. This gives the oats a nutty flavor and gives each bite a sweet and salty flavor. I tried mixing the salt into the wet ingredients, and it just wasn’t as good.

2.TAMP down those bars! After moving the mixture into a 13x9x2 pan, I spray the bottom of a loaf pan and then use it to apply pressure to the bars. You want to pack them so they don’t fall apart when they’re cut

3. Use quality peanut butter. Saratoga Peanut Butter is so flavorful and doesn’t get lost with all the other ingredients. Natural peanut butter is so much more nutritious and just tastes better.

The best part of my version is how fun it is! It involves a lot of shaking, and is plenty of fun for kids. This is a great, healthy recipe to bring parents and kids together in the kitchen.

I’ve provided both the volumetric recipe and the recipe by mass. I prefer using a scale for baking, but many people don’t own a kitchen scale.

I’m proud to present peanut butter granola bars:

Saratoga Peanut Butter Granola Bars

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts of your choice
  • 2/3 cup Saratoga Peanut Butter: either Plain Jane, New York Maple, or Adirondack Jack
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup milled flaxseed*
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, or other dried fruit
  • 2 tbsp spelt flour (or whole wheat flour)
  • 1 cup puffed grain cereal: millet, wheat, rice, or kamut

Preheat the oven to 325* F.

In a large Tupperware container, combine the oil, honey, salt and cinnamon. Microwave for 20 seconds, stir and microwave until very thin (about another 20 seconds.)

Add the oats to the container, cover and shake until all oats are evenly coated. You may have to open and stir the oil and honey out of the corners of the container.

Pour the shaken oats and the nuts into a 13x9x2 pan and bake for 10-15 minutes, turning once.

Meanwhile, combine the peanut butter and honey in the same container. Microwave for 2 or 3 sets of 20 seconds, until thin enough to combine the rest of the ingredients. Add the flaxseed and stir.

Once the oats are toasted and cooled, add the flour, dried fruit and puffed grains. Stir, then pour into the container of honey and peanut butter.

Fold ingredients together, then cover the container and shake for 1 minute until everything is evenly distributed.

Cut a piece of parchment paper large enough to line the bottom of the 13X9 pan. (An 11”x8.5” piece is the perfect size) place on bottom, then spray with baking spray.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, then grease the bottom of a bread pan. Place the bread pan on top of the granola bar mixture and apply even pressure, flattening and tamping down the ingredients.

If there are any spots that appear dry, drizzle a little honey and then tamp down with the bread pan.

Bake for 20 minutes, and then let cool in the pan for 30.

Remove the bars from the pan and slice with a sharp knife into 18 equal pieces. (they end up about 3.5”x2”)

To store: wrap in waxed paper or place in small zip lock bags. These are great for a grab and go snack or for a bite to eat with tea.

Metric recipe:

  • 17 g honey
  • 14 g coconut oil
  • 2 g salt
  • 1 g cinnamon
  • 175 g old fashioned rolled oats
  • 30 g nuts of your choice
  • 180 g Saratoga Peanut Butter: either Plain Jane, New York Maple, or Adirondack Jack
  • 147 g honey
  • 56 g milled flax seed*
  • 45 g dried cranberries, or other dried fruit
  • 20 g spelt flour or whole wheat flour
  • 15 g puffed grain cereal: either millet, rice, wheat, or kamut

Preheat the oven to 163* C.

In a large Tupperware container, combine the oil, honey, salt and cinnamon. Microwave for 20 seconds, stir and microwave until very thin (about another 20 seconds.)

Add the oats to the container, cover and shake until all oats are evenly coated. You may have to open and stir the oil and honey out of the corners of the container.

Pour the shaken oats and the nuts into a 13x9x2 pan and bake for 10-15 minutes, turning once.

Meanwhile, combine the peanut butter and honey in the same container. Microwave for 2 or 3 sets of 20 seconds, until thin enough to combine the rest of the ingredients. Add the flaxseed and stir.

Once the oats are toasted and cooled, add the flour, dried fruit and puffed grains. Stir, then pour into the container of honey and peanut butter.

Fold ingredients together, then cover the container and shake for 1 minute until everything is evenly distributed.

Cut a piece of parchment paper large enough to line the bottom of the 13X9 pan. (An 11”x8.5” piece is the perfect size) place on bottom, then spray with baking spray.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, then grease the bottom of a bread pan. Place the bread pan on top of the granola bar mixture and apply even pressure, flattening and tamping down the ingredients.

If there are any spots that appear dry, drizzle a little honey and then tamp down with the bread pan.

Bake for 20 minutes, and then let cool in the pan for 30.

Remove the bars from the pan and slice with a sharp knife into 18 equal pieces. (they end up about 3.5”x2”)

To store: wrap in waxed paper or place in small zip lock bags. These are great for a grab and go snack or for a bite to eat with tea.

IMG_1362

Shaking the oats, oil and honey

IMG_1057IMG_1061

Stir the honey, peanut butter and flax together. Add the toasted oats.

IMG_1365

The prepared pan

IMG_1366

The oat mixture.

IMG_1367

Tamp down the mixture with a bread pan.

IMG_1368

Out of the oven and ready to cut.

~~~

granola bar porn

peanut butter granola bars

Here are the nutrition facts:

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These granola bars contain 764 mg Omega 3 fatty acids, 16% DV Magnesium, 13% DV Phosphorous, 10% DV Copper, 40% DV Manganese, and 7% DV or both Iron and Selenium.

They have a reasonable amount of fiber and protein, plus they taste wonderful!

~~~

Granola bars by ohh may

Enjoy!

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55 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2010 5:56 am

    WOW – I am at a loss for words all I want is one of those amazing looking bars!

  2. March 6, 2010 6:17 am

    Can’t wait to try these, you recipe genius you 🙂

  3. The Brunette permalink
    March 6, 2010 6:19 am

    These look great. You’re so lucky to work with a company like Saratoga 🙂

  4. March 6, 2010 6:19 am

    Those bars sound incredible!!!

  5. March 6, 2010 6:31 am

    They look amazing! Definitely gotta make these.

  6. March 6, 2010 7:18 am

    wow

    they seriously look terrific Mae. Seriously.

  7. Jenna Quick permalink
    March 6, 2010 7:45 am

    They’re amazing. I love being the guinea pig 😀

    • March 7, 2010 10:35 am

      Muahaha you say that now! Wait until I feed you raisins! 😉

      • Jenna Quick permalink
        March 8, 2010 11:32 am

        Oh no!!!! Dried Fruit! :O *runs away*

        Well, depending on what they’re in, raisins can be okay….. just no dates!! hahahaa

  8. Liz permalink
    March 6, 2010 7:50 am

    Those look great! They look very professional and yummy of course. I cannot wait to try this recipe.

  9. March 6, 2010 8:25 am

    Wow, what amazing looking granola bars! I’m bookmarking this ASAP, thanks for such a great recipe and all those trial and errors!

  10. March 6, 2010 9:08 am

    I’m on it! these look fantastic!

  11. March 6, 2010 9:56 am

    I am SO going to try at least one of these out! After my granola bar flop a few weeks ago, it was nice to receive some guidance!

    • March 7, 2010 10:33 am

      Lily, sorry I didn’t respond to your last question!!! I’m guessing the recipe was a little too high in sugar, too thick, cooked too hot or a little too long. I’m sure you’re just being a tough critic and they were wonderful, though! 😉

  12. March 6, 2010 10:20 am

    Okay so, these really do look absolutely amazing, and I’m pretty sure you’re going to be famous someday soon. End of story 🙂

  13. March 6, 2010 11:35 am

    Mae, you’re a kitchen whiz. These look so delicious. I love all your mouthwatering photos, too. 🙂

  14. March 6, 2010 1:27 pm

    Genius. I’m so happy you finally got it just right. You are one clever little cook. Now I need to get my hands on some of that pb! It sounds delicious!

    Happy weekend Mae!

  15. March 6, 2010 2:51 pm

    They look tasty and professional! You rock girl.

  16. March 6, 2010 9:25 pm

    These look seriously AMAZING!! They look way better than store bought granola bars… I mean how could you ever eat another store bought granola bar after these?!!! 😉 You are so talented!!

  17. March 6, 2010 9:28 pm

    Well, there’s not a doubt in my mind you should win Employee of the Month for this endeavor, Mae. High five!!! Do you own the intellectual property rights to the bars, or is it Saratoga’s?

    • March 7, 2010 10:30 am

      Thank you! You’re awesome EE… and as far as rights go, I don’t own anything. All I do is bake post and link. If I remember, I throw my name at the end of the recipes on the SPB website, but I’m okay with anonymity.

  18. March 6, 2010 9:35 pm

    thanks for this Mae! I’m definitely goingyo make this today!

    I’m running low on my nut butter though, what can I replace it with for the time being?

    Also, I finally posted the carrot cake larabar recipe (from way back when!). It’s still not 100% and I’m tryin to figure or was to tweak it. What would you suggest? Feel free to experiment with it, if you so please.
    Here it is: http://prettylittlesteps.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/vegan-carrot-cake-larabar-recipe/

    • March 7, 2010 10:27 am

      Yasmin, I hope your ankle feels better soon!!!! My suggestion is to “dry” your carrots first. Set your oven to it’s lowest and dry shredded carrots until they’re just a little tough- 2 hrs? let cool and then use in the recipe.
      As far as flavor add ins, yours sound wonderful!! I’d recommend folding in some dry pineapple chunks and chopped toasted pecans at the end. As far as spices, a dash of nutmeg would be nice, but if you don’t want to you don’t have to add it!!
      Good luck, thank you for the comment, and let me know how they turn out!
      Mae

    • March 7, 2010 10:29 am

      Oh I’m sorry! A nut butter replacement is hard because it’s such a big component of the recipe and nut butters have protein+fiber so they act different than butter and oil in recipes.
      You could try 1/2 c coconut oil or butter and one egg white. Hopefully that will work!

  19. March 7, 2010 9:50 am

    I am so making these! Thanks doll!

  20. March 7, 2010 10:12 am

    Oh girl, these look awesome!!!! Though I don’t have saratoga pb…

  21. March 7, 2010 11:55 am

    HEY girl!! these look soo awesome!

  22. March 7, 2010 8:32 pm

    These look really good! I am going to have to try them out this week!

    PS- Thanks for commenting on my blog :)!

  23. March 7, 2010 9:47 pm

    I’ve never thought of toasting the oats – gah, I’ve got to try these! *recipe saved*

    Haha, like the condition that you must use quality PB. I’ve got to put in another order for Saratoga if I make these bars!

  24. March 8, 2010 6:14 am

    that looks so good! i used to make my own granola all the time but i’ve never made my own granola bars. thanks for the recipe!

  25. March 8, 2010 8:13 am

    Alright, so I don’t know if the difference of using almond butter did it, but they did not work at all. They probably should have been baked for a couple hours at a low temp.

    I don’t know. They taste alright, but didn’t hold bar shape at all.

    Is it the almond butter that did it?

    • March 8, 2010 8:58 am

      The almond butter shouldn’t have made a difference, but the most common problems are:
      1. They’re not tamped down enough
      2. The flax wasn’t milled… It needs to be milled to “gel” and hold the bars together
      Let me know if it was either of these issues!

  26. March 9, 2010 6:04 am

    Ohh May! Those look great! So simple yet so intricate looking. And I’m going to have to try some of the Saratoga PB some time soon! Thanks for the great recipe!

  27. March 10, 2010 11:51 am

    I LOVE ADIRONDACK JACK!!!! need to stock up next time i’m home 🙂 and i need to start making my own granola bars, thanks for the reminder!

  28. March 11, 2010 8:22 am

    I am making this for the first time this week 🙂 it’s been tagged since the day you posted, my co-workers will be so happy!

  29. March 15, 2010 6:22 am

    These are amazing! I used almonds, dried blueberries, and sunflower butter to make one batch and peanuts, chocolate chips, and dark chocolate dreams pb for another batch. Really delicious; thanks so much for the recipe!

  30. May 12, 2010 2:51 am

    Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to bring these great recipes to us.

  31. June 14, 2010 4:03 pm

    Ohh may! Made your granola bars yesterday (only half the batch) and am IN LOVE!!!
    Sadly they broke on me a little when cutting, so I’ll try to make them separately (maybe in a muffin form?!) so I’ll have induvidual round ‘bars’! 😀
    Can’t wait to devour them!! Thank you for posting this awesome recipe!

  32. November 4, 2010 7:09 pm

    protein bars always come in handy whenever you need lots of protein after a heavy exercise “

  33. March 20, 2010 10:23 am

    You’re awesome!

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