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Homemade Granola: not as bad as you think!

My recipe-posting binge is continuing today…

I’ve been searching for a homemade granola bar recipe for quite some time now and had ultimately given up after several very labor intensive (unsuccessful) attempts.  Every recipe I found was super complicated, time consuming, with tons of steps and ingredients, and the end results were never worth the effort.  I recently bought two new vegan cookbooks and tried out my first new recipe this morning for granola bars from Lindsay S. Nixon’s cookbook, Everyday Happy Herbivore.  I will admit that the packaged granola bars you are used to from the store might taste a little bit better to you, but goodness knows what preservatives, etc they are packed with, and for my family, I think that these are a reasonable replacement, and super easy!  Landri even helped make them and both she and Scott both approved their taste.  Also, bonus, I happened to have all of the ingredients in my pantry already!  I love it when that happens!  And, it is a really small recipe as well, which is nice because if you don’t like them, at least you now don’t have 50 granola bars you hate!

Granola Bars

1 cup instant oats*
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
3 Tbsp agave nectar
2 Tbsp vegan chocolate chips
1-2 Tbsp raw sugar (optional)

1. Stir all ingredients together in a mixing bowl.  They will appear too dry at first, but they’re not – keep stroking.
2. Once combined, let the batter rest while the oven preheats to 325 degrees.
3. Grease a bread pan and pack the mixture down firmly and tightly.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden, firm, and light brown around the edges.
5.  Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before cutting. 

Variations:
Peanut Butter Granola Bars – Substitute 1 tablespoon of peanut butter for 1 tablespoon of applesauce.  Combine peanut butter with applesauce and heat in the microwave for 10 seconds so peanut butter softens.  Whisk together and use as directed.

* I actually didn’t realize the recipe called for instant oats, not rolled oats (which I used), and it turned out fine. Although, I also just noticed a chef’s note at the bottom stating that you can put your rolled oats into a food processor to grind them down to instant oat consistency.  But apparently it didn’t really matter that I missed this part!  Also, I did the peanut butter variation just because I like peanut butter.  I am definitely going to make these again, and may even try to make up some of my own new variations.

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