Here’s a versatile recipe for some granola bars that are easy to make and don’t require baking (just a little toasting of ingredients beforehand). Just mix, press, and cut!
4 1/2 cups total of oats, chopped nuts, sunflower seeds, or other grain flakes*
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 Tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2- 1 cup dried fruit (optional but recommended)
Directions and Notes:
1. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper.
2. Toast the 4 1/2 cups of oats, nuts, etc. on a baking sheet for 10-15 minutes until toasted.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, honey, oil, vanilla, and salt. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly, then reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes.
4. When the oat mixture is toasted, stir together the oat mixture, the honey mixture, and the dried fruit. Make sure to mix it well since the honey mixture is the glue that will hold it all together.
5. Pour the mixture into the 9 x 13 pan and place another piece of parchment paper on top. Press, press, press until you can press no more. I usually lay a piece of parchment paper on top and then place another 9 x 13-ish pan down on top, then put it on the floor and stand on the whole thing for a few minutes while I do some more kitchen work.
6. Wait 2-3 hours or overnight before slicing. When you slice, just press down with the knife– don’t saw or they’ll fall apart. Wrap individually if desired and store in an airtight container.
*Note: I usually use mostly old-fashioned oats from the “scoopable” section of the open market with some chopped almonds, etc. I’ve also made this just using 4 1/2 cups of fruit and nut Muesli that we decided we’d rather eat as granola bars than Muesli. Different varieties of chopped nuts, seeds, or grain flakes from the market work as well.
Another note: If you live in a really humid area and are making these during wet season, be extra sure to keep them in an airtight container. If they do get ruined by humidity, however (not that I know from experience or anything…), you can throw what remains into the oven and bake it at a low temperature for 35-45 minutes to dry it out (lay a piece of foil over top to prevent burning). Then you can break the hardened product into granola once it cools.