How to Make Homemade Granola Bars
Makes 8 bars
from Emma Christensen at The Kitchn
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup puffed quinoa cereal
1/2 cup chopped nuts, of any variety
1/2 - 1 cup dried fruit(s)
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 - 1 teaspoon spices (optional, for making a specialty type bar)
3 tablespoons peanut butter or 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1. Heat the oven to 325°F. Line an 11"x7" baking pan with parchment, leaving extra parchment to hang over the sides. Lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray or butter. If desired, toast the nuts and grains for 10-15 minutes until toasted and fragrant.
2. Mix the oats, cereal, nuts, and dried fruit together in a mixing bowl.
3. Warm the rice syrup for 10-15 seconds in the microwave or in a small saucepan over medium heat. It should be just warm enough to pour, not to sizzle when salt & spices are added. Mix in the vanilla extract, salt, spices (if using), and peanut butter or cocoa powder.
4. Pour the rice syrup over the dry ingredients. Stir the rice syrup into the dry ingredients until the ingredients are completely coated and start to stick together in clumps.
5. Pour/scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and firmly press the mixture into the pan.
6. Bake the bars for 20-25 minutes for chewy granola bars or 25-30 minutes for crunchy bars. As soon as you remove the bars from the oven, press them again with the back of a lightly oiled spatula. (This will give you more compacted granola bars.)
7. Let the bars cool completely in the pan. They will firm up as they cool. Once cooled, cut into 8 bars in the pan with a very sharp knife, then lift the bars by the flaps of parchment to remove from the pan. Store between layers of wax paper in an airtight container for up to two weeks.