Granola bars are often viewed as quick and healthy solutions for the on-the-go person. They can be a great source of energy, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to make for a healthier diet. By making them from scratch it allows you to control the ingredients used and taste desired, while maintaining health goals or resolutions. These homemade soft granola bars are perfect with a glass of milk for a grab-and-go breakfast or mid-afternoon snack.
Yields: 12-14 Bars
2 cups quick rolled oats
½ cup white or whole wheat flour
½ cup packed brown sugar, may reduce to taste
⅓ cup flaxseed, golden or brown
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, or cinnamon
1 cup raisins or other dried fruit
1 cup shredded coconut (loosely packed)
1 cup chopped or sliced nuts (almonds, pecans, peanuts, etc)
⅓ cup applesauce
⅓ cup melted butter
⅓ cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla or almond extract
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut a strip of parchment paper approximately 9x15 inches. Line a 9x9 pan with the parchment paper with excess hanging over the pan edge (overhanging edges will serve as handles to remove the granola bars from the pan). Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together oats, flour, sugar, flaxseed, salt, pumpkin pie spice, dried fruit, coconut and nuts. Make a well in the center of the mix. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Press mixture evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until the edges begin to brown (note - center will appear to be undercooked).
Cool 5-10 minutes; use parchment paper as a handle and remove granola from the pan; place on cutting board, cut into 12-24 pieces. Cool completely; store in airtight container.