Thick, Chewy Granola Bars … you left us smitten!

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
A visit to Smitten Kitten always leaves me enamoured and charmed. Deb’s always got something that holds my attention. It’s often simple comfort food. Beautiful brownies, awesome cakes, or then something as simple as these thick, chewy granola bars. The beauty of her posts is the passion she does them with. She bakes from scratch, her commentary is engaging, and her posts have brilliant photographs. These granola bars, adapted from King Arthur Flour, had her readers, including me, quite smitten. For me, the bars scored a 10/10 in every aspect – health, taste, looks, versatility. Above all they were kid friendly too… very Ten in 10!

I had to make them soon because I identified with the immense possibilities and substitutions at every level that Deb offered. If you didn’t have this, then you could use that, that, or that. The recipe below is what I did with what was available in my larder. Do check Deb’s post for more  options! Almost everything was optional, and the recipe can be tailored to suit individual tastes. How often do you find something so good?

In her words … This is probably the most flexible recipe I’ve posted. When it comes to granola, what you’re looking for is a basic proportion of chunky (nuts, dried fruit) to sticky (syrups, sugar, butter or oils) and from there, you can really go to town. The vanilla is optional. The cinnamon is optional. You can use no dried fruit or you can use all dried fruit in your 2 to 3 cup mix. You can toss in things like puffed rice cereal or flax seeds. In the comments, I’d love to hear what mix you came up with and how you liked it. I can only imagine the possibilities.

I loved how the bars came out. Made a couple of errors, the primary one getting anxious to see how they baked and urging them to jump out of the tin while very warm. I put them right back instantly realising my folly, and saved the bars. They won’t stick to the paper, so leave them be. Let them sit for at least 20 minutes, and then if you still want to, take them out, lining paper and all, let them cool on the rack. Cut them up only when they are cold. They behave beautifully!
I also added something that the kids didn’t take to very well. I read someone had sprinkled sea salt on top, and I was very taken in by the idea. So I added a light sprinkling of sea salt on top. While it was a good idea for adults, the kids became very iffy about it. It seemed to take the snack monster joy away from them. I really should have experimented with just a 1/4 or 1/2 surface wth the sprinkling. 
Thought hard as I didn’t want the kids to have these bars sans enjoyment. Suddenly, I had a flash of brilliance … chocolate would bring the mojo back! Chocolate makes everything better and I just knew it would fix this problem too. Woohoo… it sure did. I coated the sea salt topped bars with melted dark chocolate, and let it set in the fridge for a bit. I won the kids back! They were smitten!

Thick, Chewy Granola Bars
Recipe minimally adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

Of note: The original recipe calls for something called “sticky bun sugar” which can be made at home with sugar, butter and corn syrup. It is for this reason that corn syrup is listed within one ingredient but also separately, and I used all butter rather than two different fats. Whether the corn syrup can be entirely replaced with honey or maple syrup or the butter can be entirely replaced with a healthier oil is worth auditioning, I just didn’t. Yet. I can tell you this: as is, this is the best granola bar I’ve ever eaten.

Ingredients:
1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts
1/3 cup peanut butter
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons light corn syrup (see note above)
1 tablespoon water

Method:

Preheat the oven to180°C. Line an 7″ x 11″ x 2″ pan in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. Lightly grease the parchment paper and the exposed pan, or coat with a non-stick spray.
Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter, syrup or honey, and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan.
Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges — don’t be afraid to get a little color on them. They’ll still seem soft and almost underbaked in the center when you take them out but do not worry, they’ll set completely once they cool.
Cool the bars in their pan completely on a cooling rack. (Alternately, after about 20 minutes you can use your parchment “sling” to lift and remove the bars, and place them in their paper on the rack to cool the rest of the way.)
Once cool, a serrated knife (or bench knife) to cut the bars into squares. To store, wrap the bars individually in plastic or stack them in an airtight container. In humid weather, it’s best to store bars in the refrigerator. They also freeze well.
Suggestions: Dried cranberries, apricots, pecans, sunflower seeds, coconut, walnuts, sesame seeds, pepitas, dried pples or even chocolate chips. My mix: 1/2 cup wheat germ, 1 cup dried cherries, 1 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup pecans and 1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes.
 

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Comments

  1. Very very inviting!!! Am smitten :-))

  2. Sandy says:

    OH wow, these look pretty simple to make and SOOO SOO delicious! I especially love the melted chocolate on top. I am smitten, for sure!

  3. Holly says:

    Oh yummy looking goodness!! I would like to invite you to come by and check out our new food blog-The Peppered Pantry:)

  4. Maria says:

    What a great snack!

  5. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    Awesome granola bars! I love the chocolate layer.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  6. The Cooking Ninja says:

    ooh…they look delicious and crunchy. :)

  7. Sayantani says:

    cant believe my eyes that so less effort could make such gorgeous result. looks absolutely try worthy.

  8. Happy Cook says:

    My kind of bars especially with thise chocolate coverings.

  9. Janice says:

    Oh wow these look so good, the chocolate is definitely the crowning glory!

  10. Federica says:

    splendido post!! una delizia!

  11. The chocolate just lifts up the whole thing. A big big plus!

  12. Mallika says:

    I saw these on Debs' site and fell in love there. Your photos are glorious!

  13. I'll have to give these bars a try too! I love the addition of peanut butter to them. Think I'll have to go with chocolate chip, coconut, and maybe almond!Thumbs up!

  14. I'll have to give these bars a try too! I love the addition of peanut butter to them. Think I'll have to go with chocolate chip, coconut, and maybe almond!Thumbs up!

  15. Natashya KitchenPuppies says:

    Those are some granola bars! My daughter would love them.

  16. Katrina says:

    The chocolate on top sealed the deal for me, too, and I'm NOT a kid! ;) I LOVE granola/bars!

  17. Kathleen says:

    Oh wow! These look sooooo yummy. I'm smitten too!

  18. nicole says:

    I made these last week and LOVED them! Definitely the best granola bars to come out of my oven so far. I like that you drizzled chocolate over them for your kids :).

  19. Julia @Mélanger says:

    Wow. Wow. Wow. These look fantastic. Thanks for sharing yet another great recipe. I'm always inspired when I visit your blog!

  20. Rambling Tart says:

    Yowza! These look SO good! :-) I love that they have peanut butter in them !! Mmmm!

  21. WizzyTheStick says:

    Always amazed that you make the ordinary look extraordinary. I don't even like granola bars and yet you have me craving them…I bow down:-)

  22. Bellini Valli says:

    Dang! I am smitten too!!!!! I will have to make these and covered in chocolate too!!!!

  23. Rachel says:

    I am smitten by the bars for the sole reason of that chocolate smother.

  24. Chef Panda says:

    I want one of those right now! Loving the chocolate part… I might try making these soon :)

  25. Asha @ FSK says:

    heheh… there it went from healthy breakfast to decadent dessert in a blink of an eye! :DDD

  26. Arwen from Hoglet K says:

    I'm with the kids on this one – I don't like salty sweets. Great save with the chocolate!

  27. Sarah, Maison Cupcake says:

    It's not even 7am and I am desperate for one of these for breakfast now. Gorgeous and I love the photos.

  28. Erica | UPrinting says:

    Yummy! I would like to try also the one with salt on top. I actually to like combining chocolates with salty junk food sometimes. I prefer chocolates that really melts in my mouth, it doesn't looks good but it taste good. I would like to try this Granola bar too, I think I can ask my baker friend to do this recipe for me.

  29. MeetaK says:

    always an awesome thing to have around the house – granola bars. love the way you have drizzled chocolate over the top. perfect flavorings!

  30. Nalini Hebbar says:

    looks like a healthy snack too…chocolate once in a way will not kill, I bet!!!

  31. You've convinced me! Now, I have to make these. The bars sound delicious, and covered in chocolate they look just amazing. I think I might toss in some chia seeds and flax.

  32. These bars look wonderful. They make such a great snack. I have recipes for Cliff and Laura bars but have never made these. I'll have to remedy that. Have a wonderful day…Mary

  33. Lauren says:

    These granola bars sound phenomenal unadorned… add the layer of chocolate on top, and I'm in heaven!

  34. Nicisme says:

    Very nice, with or without the chocolate dribbling down the sides!

  35. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite says:

    I had my eye on these also. Love the touch of sea salt, even if the kids didn't!

  36. Arlette says:

    These are soooo good.
    and more topped with chocolate who can resist!!

  37. I always think granola bars are health foods and only have em when I really can't afford to sit down for a meal. The only ones I eat are ones with whole nuts or shitloads of oats but these I LOVE because of that decadent coating of chocolate. You know the way to my heart, mama. x

  38. Annellénor says:

    C'est très décadent, hyper gourmand et j'adore !

  39. Fimère says:

    un vrai bonheur gustatif, j'adore
    bonne soirée

  40. Su-yin says:

    You have me smitten! :D I love granola bars and eat them on the go quite often, and yours look lovely. Especially that chocolate coating…

  41. Jennifer says:

    These have to be hands down the best looking homemade granola bars ever!!!

  42. Barbara Bakes says:

    I was smitten by these bars even without the chocolate, but with the chocolate – oh my!

  43. Gorgeous!

  44. Chez Us says:

    I am so making these this weekend – fantastic! Love them!!

  45. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    Deeba, once again you hit it out of the ballpark! :D I love the dripping of the chocolate and I think it could be the solution to everything-just coat in chocolate! :)

  46. PastryPrincess says:

    i recently made chocolate-covered granola bars for the first time, too! my sister went on a skiing trip and they made for perfect energy boosters. i packed them with everything she likes and they turned out beautifully. ill have to post them soon… :)

  47. Barbara says:

    I agree about Smitten Kitchen, Deeba. Always something good to be found there!
    These are really good looking granola bars. The last batch I made broke into a million pieces. (So we used it for our yogurt!) The kids probably liked the chocolate on top. And I personally like salt with my chocolate but think that is an adult thing.

  48. What pictures! Deeba, I don't even have to make them, because I'm going to print out these pictures and just eat THOSE! Amazing.

  49. Trissa says:

    I've always wanted to learn how to make granola bars – if you and Deb have tried it and made it successfully – this is the recipe I MUST USE!

  50. vickys says:

    Your version of Deb's already awesome recipe, just tops it! Chocolate smothered goodness!

  51. Sophie says:

    I love your version the most!! They look awesome!!!!

    Truly fabulous!!!! MMMMMMM,…georgous too!

  52. Natalie... says:

    Omg wow these look so good!! Chewy and chocolatey and mmm woww!!

  53. Barbara @moderncomfortfood says:

    Looks sensational, Deeba. Many thanks for a health bar recipe I can really relate to!

  54. Chow and Chatter says:

    wow yummy with a good cup of coffee

  55. Lana from Never Enough Thyme says:

    Wow these look so good, Deeba. And I think I'd really like the bit of sea salt on top. Going to give this a try very soon.

  56. Amanda says:

    These are so beautiful Deeba! I bet they were amazing!

  57. Megan @ FeastingonArt says:

    Wow!! The chocolate in those photos looks too good to be true! They look amazing!

  58. Mowie @ Mowielicious says:

    Deeba those look divine with that dripping chocolate teasing us all – you sure know how to whet our appetites xxx

  59. Divina Pe says:

    I need to have some of these ready made just in case my hunger pangs strike in the middle of the afternoon.

  60. shayma says:

    these look so so good, Deeba, i love granola bars, but i always buy them. now when can i come and have them at your place? ;) would love to try these at home sometime soon. know my husband would love them, too. x shayma

  61. Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] says:

    Hahaha now there's a great save!! The bars look delicious :) I have to try homemade granola soon!!

  62. Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] says:

    Hahaha now there's a great save!! The bars look delicious :) I have to try homemade granola soon!!

  63. muneza says:

    hi!i am the greatest fan of ur blog.tried almost all ur recipes!i made this granola bar yesterday n there r only 2 pieces left now!!i used roasted almonds,walnuts,butterscotch chips,chocochips,raisins,puffed rice n cashewnuts.it was awesome,i was out of honey so used jaggery,but still they urned out fine!thank u so much for this awesome recipe!

  64. These granola bars are so tasty! Now I need to keep myself from eating them all… wayyy too good :)
    Amy @ {Life to the Full}´s last blog post ..Almost bought a giraffe todayMy Profile

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