Homemade Granola Bars

Homemade Granola Bars

By Michaela Jellicoe

When you make your own granola bars from scratch, you can make any style of granola bar you like and your selection of ingredients is much wider. You can also make a healthier version of a granola bar; your homemade granola bars will not be made with corn syrup and chemicals. The best part about making homemade granola bars is that you can load them with whole grains, but they still taste as yummy as an oatmeal cookie.

I started my granola bar journey by doing some online research into how exactly a homemade granola bar is made. From this I learned what proportions are generally used and what types of ingredients are most often used. After I figured out the basics of making a granola bar I decided to experiment to create a recipe that I liked.

I went to my local grocery store, which has a great bulk foods section. I knew I wanted some rolled oats, wheat germ, and whole-wheat flour, among other things. As I perused the aisles of my grocery store I decided to add some rolled barley to my recipe. My first attempt at making granola bars used rolled oats, rolled barley, wheat germ, whole wheat flour, honey, vanilla, baking soda, butter, unsweetened coconut, mini semisweet chocolate chips and walnuts. This first experiment tasted great, but it was crumbly and fell apart at the slightest touch.

The crumbliness of the recipe was extremely dissatisfying, so I decided to try again. I used the same basic ingredients, except I replaced some of the honey with brown sugar, I added an egg white and replaced the coconut with candied ginger. This batch was a success, although it may be more like a cookie than a traditional granola bar. The ginger is a great addition to the recipe too -- it adds a little bite to counter the sweetness of the honey.

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup rolled barley (optional: replace with rolled oats)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ (optional: replace with a little less flour)
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup butter (can use a little less if you want)
1/3 cup honey
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 egg white
1/4 cup candied ginger (optional)
1/2 cup diced walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a 9x13 baking pan.
2. Mix the dry ingredients, except the ginger, walnuts and chocolate.
3. Melt the butter. Grease the measuring cup for the honey before measuring the honey; this will make it much easier to get the honey out of the cup. Separate the egg yolk from the white, dispose of the yolk and whip the white until it is frothy. Add the butter, vanilla, honey and egg white to the dry ingredients. Make sure to mix well, so all of the oats are covered.
4. Mix in the ginger, walnuts and chocolate chips.
5. Let the mixture rest for around 10 minutes. This will help the honey, egg and butter to soak in, so the bars will hold together better.
6. Put the mixture into the baking sheet and press down hard. If you grease your hands before pressing the mixture into the pan you will find that the oats don't stick to your hands as much.
7. Bake for 18-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing. Allow to cool completely before serving. You can eat them while warm, but they don't get hard and stick together until they are completely cool.