In search of the perfect granola bar…
The mind tends to naturally associate granola = healthy. For the most part, yes, but a lot of the recipes out there are loaded with sugar and fat along with all the good stuff. My friend Cath and I are on a mission to find/create/invent the perfect lightened-up Granola Bar. Test Kitchen is open for business!
With all the yummy, crunchy nuts and seeds with the pliancy factor of the dried fruit, we expect a granola bar with a balanced mix of crunch and chew.
- 2 ripe bananas
- ½ cup nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew), preferably all natural
- ½ cup roughly chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachio, cashew, pecan, macadamia)
- ¼ cup seeds (sunflower, sesame, poppy, chia)
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ¼ cup dried, unsweetened fruit (cranberry, cherry, apricots, papaya, mango, raisin, strawberry, blueberry)
- ¼ cup chocolate chips or cacao nibs (optional)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon, optional
- ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line an 8×8 in. baking pan with parchment.
- In a large bowl, mash the bananas with the back of a fork. Stir in the nut butter until well combined.
- Add the oats, chopped nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chocolate, cinnamon, and coconut.
- Stir until everything is well combined. The batter will be very, very wet, but it will still bake
- Spread the batter evenly into your prepared baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. The top should be slightly browned and give a little when pressed.
- Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars; this is important. Store wrapped tightly in a container or in the refrigerator.
Taste-wise, these granola bars ticked all the right boxes, but texture-wise they were a bit confused. Not chewy or crunchy; more like a muffin texture, perhaps due to the lack of added oil and flour. Cath and I also used quick oats rather than rolled oats – quick oats are softer and more absorbent than rolled oats, so this may have been a cause for the confusion.
Have you got any great granola bar recipes?