Imitation Nature Valley Granola Bars

A few weeks ago I posted about making pretzel sticks in order to solve my mid-afternoon snacking woes at work.  But what fun is there in eating the same thing over and over again (which, to be clear I usually don’t mind).  For a long time I’ve been searching for a recipe that made good crunchy granola bars.  My wife makes granola for breakfast often but I like to have an actual compact bar.  So many of the recipes that I’ve tried just didn’t get the type of texture I was looking for.

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I realized what I was looking for was something like those Nature Valley Oats ‘n Honey bars.  Dedicated readers will remember my tirade against these bars about two years ago.  Well it seems time heals all wounds and was ready to eat these bars (or something like it) again.  They are a great thing to have with breakfast, in the middle of the day, or whenever you need a little pick me up.

  I did end up having to make this recipe twice before I really got it right.  The first time I didn’t pack the bars tightly enough and neglected to cut them early enough.  You want to let them cool just a bit (maybe 5 minutes) before slicing them but if you wait too long they will just crack.  Depending on how crunchy you want them I found you want to cook them for a few minutes longer than you’d think.

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If granola bars aren’t really your thing you can just mix up the ingredients and spread them out on a sheet pan.  Bake them at 325 F for about 30 minutes, stirring every 5-7 minutes.  This way you’ll end up with nicely crunchy granola to put over cereal, yogurt, or anything else you might like.

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In other Bakers & Best news on Friday I got back from my lunch break to find out that my Photoshop Phriday post about Dennis Norfleet had been featured in a post on MGoBlog, which was incredibly exciting.  It is always wonderful to share bread knowledge and recipes with anybody, but given the Michigan twist I’ve put to many posts on this blog it is really thrilling to have that sort of audience viewing what I’ve posted here.

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If you have other tried and true granola bar recipes I’d love to hear them.  If you give these a shot, I hope you enjoy!

Nature Valley Granola Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 C rolled oats
  • 1/2 C rice crispies cereal
  • 2 T cornmeal
  • 1/4 t baking solda
  • 1/4 C honey
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 3/4 t vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 t brown sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a square (9×9 inch or 8×8 inch) pyrex dish with parchment paper.  In a medium sized bowl combine the oats, cereal, cornmeal and baking soda.

In a microwave safe bowl mix the honey and oil together and microwave for 30 seconds.  Stir in the vanilla and brown sugar and then add to the dry ingredients.  Mix until well combined.

Transfer the mixture to the dish and press in hard to the bowl.  Make it as compressed as you can by either using the back of a measuring cup for another small flat surface you can find.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until the top is golden brown throughout.  Let the bars cool in the pan for 15 minutes after removing from the oven.  Cut the bars and keep them in the pan until cooled  more.  Then transfer out and store in a sealed container.

Recipe courtesy of Half Baked Harvest.

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