Is snack time your favorite time? Welcome to the club, because no matter how old you get or how important your job is, you will never stop loving snacks. Your tastes may change, and maybe you’ll learn to love pretzels more than cheesy crackers. Or maybe you’ll crave a cookie instead of pudding.
No matter what snack it is you want, it’s important to remember that our food should be fuel for our busy days. We need healthy carbohydrates to give us energy and protein to keep us full before our next meal. But snacks should also be delicious – which is why granola bars are always a favorite! And what’s even better is you can make them yourself and pack them up to bring on the go for a snack anytime.
Making homemade granola bars is super easy. First, we mix whatever dry ingredients we want to use, like granola (you have to have that!), dried fruits like raisins or cranberries, seeds and nuts, and maybe even some chocolate, if you like! To that mixture, we add flavoring ingredients and some sticky stuff to help hold it together. Honey and maple syrup make granola bars a little bit sweet, and ingredients like peanut butter or even apple sauce can help make your granola bars taste different each time you make them.
The key to a granola bar that holds together is making sure it gets packed in nice and tight to your baking pan. You can use your flat hands to push down really, really hard (you can rub some oil on your hands to help keep them from sticking), or you can press the mixture with another baking pan or the bottom of a big pot or other heavy item. Bake the bars until they feel firm and a little bit dry. They will still seem crumbly when they’re hot, but once they are cooled, the granola bars will slice just like the ones you buy at the store.
You can cut your granola bars whatever size you like! Cut them into little bite-sized pieces for a lunch box snack, or cut them into breakfast-sized bars that you can wrap in wax or parchment paper to bring in the car for between activities.
Check out our recipe for a fruit-filled granola bar that just about anyone will love. You can substitute whatever fruits you like best – like dried cherries, dried blueberries, or even tropical dried mango and pineapple. In that case, you might add some chopped macadamia nuts and shredded coconut for a Hawaiian-inspired snack!