Granola bars have long been one of my favorite snacks to have on hand. From packed lunches as a kid, to keeping a box in my desk drawer at work, they have pretty much always been a snack time staple. I started on my quest to make them at home several years ago and I will confess that it’s taken me forever to get them just the way I envisioned. I tried so many combinations of ingredients and while the majority of the bars were incredibly tasty, they would also fall apart quite easily.
After plenty of experiments, I finally landed on a combination that produces exactly what I’d been looking for: study yet still chewy bars with slightly crisp edges. And when that’s combined with the ever-classic combo of peanut butter and jelly? Well, I’m in snack heaven.
Now, a few things I’ve learned about making granola bars at home.
The combination of the brown rice syrup along with the peanut butter (or another nut butter) really produces the most sturdy bars. I would not encourage any substitutions for the brown rice syrup (such as maple syrup or honey), as the bars just don’t hold together as well that way.
When you press the mixture into the baking pan, make sure you really press it firmly into an even layer. This helps pack it down, which will also help produce sturdier bars. Along those lines, let the bars cool completely before removing them from the pan and cutting into squares. They firm up as they cool.
You can store the bars at room temperature or in the refrigerator. They will keep fresh longer in the fridge. I like to wrap the bars individually in plastic wrap, to make it nice and easy for a grab and go snack.
And lastly, for these bars specifically, try to use either jelly or a jam that isn’t super chunky. It will mix and spread better without the big chunks.
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