Sunday, June 16, 2013

Homemade No-Bake Granola Bars

Ever since I made my own cliff bars, I have been on the hunt to try even more homemade granola bar (or granola bar like) recipes. The captain and I both enjoy them (I am totally hooked on the Trader Joes vanilla almond ones right now!) and I am all about trying to remake some of my favorite store bought snacks right at home in my own kitchen. They just somehow taste better too. I am not sure what it is. Maybe it's the extra love that's mixed in? I think so.

One of my favorite bloggers, Christina, over at Dessert for Two (check her blog out, here!) makes these no-bake chocolate chip granola bars for her and her hubby almost every week and recommended that I try them out. If she said they were good, I knew that I had to try them. She's never wrong about a good recipe! Plus, with it getting hotter and hotter (last weekend it was over 110 degrees here in Northern California!), a no-bake recipe is always a winner in my book. The less heating the house, the better. And, these are so fast to make. Like under five minutes fast. Now that's fast! Here's what you need for the basic recipe - a little butter, brown sugar, honey, quick cooking oats, rice cereal, vanilla and chocolate chips. That's it! Just heat up the butter, brown sugar and honey to a good rolling boil and then pour it over all the rest of the ingredients. Just don't mix it with your hands - that would hurt and you'd probably burn yourself pretty badly. Just use a big spoon and mix until it's all combined, press into a sprayed pan and top with the chocolate chips. Bada bing, bada boom. You've got homemade granola bars!

These do need to rest for a couple of hours so they can harden up and cool down, but it's well worth the wait. Once they are cool enough, you can cut them up and enjoy. These granola bars are great for an afternoon snack or even a quick breakfast with some greek yogurt. Or whenever you need a sweet treat. I sometimes need a sweet treat right before bed. I'm strange. These granola bars are a little crunchy, a little sweet and totally delicious. They kind of remind me of those Quaker Chewy Granola bars, but without all those added preservatives and stuff you don't want in your body. For my granola bars, I decided to switch it up and add a few more things. Why not, right? You totally don't' have to add anything more to the base recipe (they are just as good!), but I was feeling coconut, so I added about a 1/2 cup to the oats and rice cereal. Since I had some ground flax seed left over from making cliff bars, I added a couple of tablespoons in as well. Extra fiber and omega-3's in my granola bars is a plus! Again, totally not necessary, but if you are feeling extra wild, you can add whatever you want - almonds, walnuts, raisins, dried cherries or even chia seeds. The flavor possibilities are endless and everyone will love them. In fact, these granola bars may become something you make all the time! I know I will be - the captain gave these two thumbs up and I will most likely be packing these in lunch bag very soon.

love to buy things in bulk so you get the exact amount you need

boil boil boil

adding in a little coconut for fun

a little ground flax seed? why not!

flowing sugar lava

mix everything well, but try not to crush the rice cereal

press into a pan nice and firm

top with chocolate chips!

Homemade No-Bake Granola Bars (from Lauren's Latest)

Makes 10 Bars

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup crispy rice cereal
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

My additions: 1/2 cup coconut and 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
Other additions (optional): cinnamon, citrus zest, nuts, dried fruit, etc.

In a large bowl, stir oats and rice cereal together. Set aside. In a small pot, melt butter, honey and brown sugar together over medium high heat until it comes to a bubble. Reduce the heat and cook 2 minutes. Pour in vanilla and stir. Pour over dry ingredients and mix well to moisten all ingredients. Pour into lightly greased 9x13 pan (or a jelly roll pan if you have one) and press out to be about 3/4 inch in thickness. If the pan isn't small enough, just pack it into half or 3/4 of the pan. Really pack down so it all sticks together well. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and press down lightly. Cool on a counter top to room temperature for two hours or until the chocolate chips are set before cutting into bars. Wrap in parchment or plastic wrap and store at room temperature.

The next time I make these, I plan to try them with whole almonds and dried cherries for extra crunch and chew!

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