It’s always a good thing if these Good Stuff Granola Bars are gracing your pantry.
These bars are perfect for breakfast with a hot cup of tea, as a side with lunch, or my favorite—those in-between hungry times like the hour before dinner is ready.
Good Stuff Granola Bars
- 1 1/2 c. whole oats
- 1 1/2 c. quick oats
- 3/4 c. slivered almonds, toasted
- 3/4 c. pecans, whole or chopped, toasted
- 1/2 c. raw sunflower seeds, toasted
- 1/2 c. raw sesame seeds, toasted
- 1/2 c. raw pumpkin seeds, toasted
- 3/4 c. unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
- 1/2 c. toasted wheat germ*, (optional)
- 2/3 c. dried cranberries*
- 1/2 c. Hershey’s ‘Special Dark’ chocolate chips*
- 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 c. (1 stick) salted butter*
These not-too-sweet granola bars taste great.
But they’re packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, so they’re also good for you too. Think: happy, healthy kids.😀
This high-energy food contains:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B6
- and Zinc, to name a few.
The neat thing about this recipe is you can mix and match many of the ingredients and these bars will still taste just as good.
As long as you remember there are three cups of oatmeal and three cups of nuts total, you can choose any nut and seed combo you happen to have on hand, and that’s fine.
Example: if you only have quick oats and no whole, then just use three cups of quick. If you’d rather use more sunflower seeds and trade pecans for walnuts–no problem. Adjust accordingly.
(I do recommend that you use the sesame seeds. They truly add something lovely. :-))
The first thing to do is melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then stir in the sweetened condensed milk until smooth.
Set aside to cool.
I don’t know how many times I’ve forgotten to do this step first and then had to wait around for it to cool when everything else was ready. (This is the last thing you add to the bowl of ingredients, so if it is too warm, the chocolate chips will melt.)
Preheat oven to 350°.
Now, in a very large bowl, add the oatmeal.
Begin toasting your nuts in a 8-10 inch skillet over medium-low heat. I use a stainless-steel skillet here because it is light enough to lift and shake the ingredients around as needed.
Stir nuts and seeds occasionally with a wooden spoon or heat-proof spatula. Each ingredient will toast at different rates, but generally each one takes about 2-4 minutes.
The easiest way I’ve found to toast the nuts and seeds is to have a couple of paper plates ready to go and the nuts and seeds pre-measured. As soon as you are done toasting one ingredient, slide it onto the paper plate, wipe out the residue that remained in the skillet with a paper towel, and then add the next ingredient.
As each nut or seed plate is cool enough (slightly warm is okay), dump it into the bowl with the oatmeal, then you can use that plate for the next ingredient that is done toasting.
Keep a watchful eye as you are toasting all the nuts, seeds, and especially coconut, as they can burn rather quickly. (No scrolling on Facebook or Pinterest, okay? 😉.)
You will know they’re about done when you start to smell their rich, nutty aroma and see them begin to brown nicely. Pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds will ‘pop’ a bit in the skillet, which is normal.
(The coconut you see above is actually Bob’s Redmill Flaked Coconut, much larger than regular shredded coconut, but either coconut will work fine. I also chopped the whole toasted pecans before adding them to the bowl.)
Once all the nuts and seeds are toasted and have been mixed into the oatmeal, add the wheat germ, cranberries, and chocolate chips.
Now add the cooled butter/sweetened condensed milk mixture to the bowl, stirring well.
Once this is thoroughly mixed, scrape it into a 13×9 glass baking dish and press down firmly.
For years I’ve made this in a 13×9 dish with no complaints. But it does create rather tall bars. (Which is fine, but hard to get your mouth around.)
So, if you prefer a shorter bar, try splitting the batch between two smaller sized pans. I tried an 11×7 baking dish and a 8×8 metal baking pan here.
Bake in a 350° oven for approximately 20 minutes until sides and bottom are a golden brown. Let cool for 10-15 minutes on a wire rack.
Then, with a knife or small metal spatula, cut through the very warm granola into bars carefully, but don’t try to lift them out until they’re completely cooled or they will fall apart.
Once cooled, remove and store in a plastic storage bag or container. They don’t need refrigeration. (They probably won’t last that long anyway.) But if you won’t be eating them right away, tightly wrap them and freeze.
You will have lots of leftover pieces that broke off your perfectly-cut bars. That’s okay. These are the best for when you want just one more nibble. (And believe me–you will.)
Crumbled bits are great over yogurt, added to cereal, or topped with ice cream for dessert. Enjoy!
* If you don’t have:
• toasted wheat germ, but have raw, I recommend toasting it lightly to bring out its nutty flavor. You can also try 1/4 c. flax meal instead.
(For those who are gluten intolerant, you can omit the wheat germ entirely with no noticeable effect.)
• dried cranberries, use regular raisins, or for a nice change try golden raisins. I’ve also used chopped dried apricots and dried cherries with beautiful results. Mix and match any dried fruit to your liking.
• Hershey’s ‘Special Dark’ chocolate chips, use semi-sweet chips (which are sweeter). I’ve also used Ghirardelli 60% chocolate chips with great success.
• salted butter, use unsalted, but don’t forget to add 1/2 t. salt. I have not used extra-virgin coconut oil for these yet, but I do believe they would turn out exceptional.
I hope you love these Good Stuff Granola Bars as much a I do. Let me know how they turn out and if you have any questions.
See you next time for another Red Apron Recipe.
(If you missed the previous ones, you can find them on my Red Apron Recipes page).
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The post “Good Stuff Granola Bars” was first published on Desert Rain.