Simple No Prepare Granola Bars

Simple No Prepare Granola Bars

Mhere is my favorite granola bar recipe. These granola bars are delicious and easy to make with pantry staples. You don’t even need to bake them!

These granola bars can pass as a quick breakfast and are a perfect snack. I love packing these bars for road trips and flights, and I love hearing from the moms who regularly make these granola bars for their kids. They are a great success with all ages.

As you will see, the recipe is versatile, so you can easily incorporate your favorite flavors, such as nuts, chocolate and dried fruits. You will find my favorite flavors in the recipe below if you want to follow my example.

These granola bars have saved me a few hangover moments lately. They are satisfying, just sweet enough, and stay with me for a few hours. Granola bars to the rescue!

Granola Bar Ingredients

Oats

Old-fashioned oats or quick-cooking oats will work here (steel-cut oats will not work). Old-fashioned oats give a more fluffy and “rustic” texture. The quick-cooking oats disappear more in the bars. If you wish, you can briefly blend the old-fashioned oats in the food processor to get the texture of the quick-cooking oats.
Mix-ins of your choice

This is where we add more flavor! See below for the options.

Nut butter

Nut butter helps to hold these bars together and offers protein, healthy fats and fiber. You can use peanut butter, almond butter or even pecan butter. For a nut-free option, sunflower butter will work.
Honey or maple syrup

These natural sweeteners also help to bind the bars together and make them deliciously sweet (but not too sweet). Or, make date paste from fresh Medjool dates. Dates offer additional fiber, unlike honey or maple syrup. See the recipe notes for more details.

Cinnamon, salt and vanilla extract

These add an extra flavor to your bars. Technically, you can omit all or some of these, but the bars look more attractive with them. The salt enhances the flavor of all the other ingredients—cut it in half if you are sensitive to salt.

Mixing Options

Two cups of mixtures add flavor, texture and more nutrients. Choose from any combination of the following:

Nuts: Pecans, walnuts, almonds or peanuts would work well.

Seeds: Nuggets (green pumpkin seeds) or sunflower seeds are good options. You can use up to 1/4 cup of flax seeds or chia seeds—these seeds absorb moisture, which is why I suggest limiting the amount.

Chocolate: The mini chocolate chips are cute. If you are using regular chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chocolate, pass them for a few seconds in the food processor to break them into small pieces. Since chocolate is sweet, limit it to 3/4 cup or less.

Coconut: Grated or flaked coconut will work here. Unsweetened is the best, because they are quite sweet bars as they are.
Dried fruits: Dried cranberries, cherries, raisins, apricots, etc. Since these are sweet, limit them to 3/4 cup or less. Any fruit larger than a raisin will have to be broken up a little more—either in a food processor or chopped by hand.

Variations of Granola Bars

Here are some variations of this granola bar recipe that I have invented over the years. I love them all!

All Pecans: You can use 2 cups of pecans as mixes, and you can even make assorted pecan butter (here’s my recipe for pecan butter). Nut lovers, this would also work with walnuts (presumably) or almonds.

Almond Chocolate Chips: Use sliced almonds and mini chocolate chips, or mix whole almonds and chocolate chips in a food processor before using.

Coconut with almonds: Use equal parts almonds and coconut flakes or grated coconut.

Orange Cranberry: Use a combination of dried cranberries, pecans, sprinkles and fresh orange zest. As this variant contains a lot of dried fruits, it is the sweetest of all.

Granola Bar Tips

  • These granola bars are quite simple to prepare, especially if you have a food processor (affiliate link).
  • Chop your ingredients, if they are large.
  • These bars hold together better when the ingredients are small enough. If you are using almonds, you will either want to start with pre-sliced almonds, or chop them in a food processor or by hand (the same goes for all nuts). It’s easy to throw all your mixes in the food processor and blend them several times.
  • Press the mixture as firmly and evenly as possible.
  • Air pockets will cause problems. Use a sturdy, flat-bottomed jar to make sure the mixture is completely squeezed out. You can then press with your hands to make sure that he does not try to squeeze into the sides or corners.
    Let the mixture sit for an hour or more before using it.
  • Oats need some time to absorb the moisture contained in the nut butter and sweetener. Refrigerate the mixture for at least an hour (or up to a day) before slicing.
  • Slice and store properly.

Use a sharp chef’s knife to slice these bars. I like to cut them into squares. Another option would be to cut them into bars like this. I think the squares are a little more robust. Make sure not to stack the bars on top of each other, otherwise they may stick. You can store them flat, covered or wrap them individually in plastic wrap or parchment paper.

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