Now that my kids are back to school, I’ve been thinking a lot about school lunches for them and day-time snacks for me. In both cases, I desperately want to find better-for-us snacks. The trick is, those better-for-us snacks need to taste good. Frankly, they need to taste better or I probably won’t go through the effort of making everything by hand.
Convenience foods are….well…convenient, after all.
A certain yummy-looking better-for-you granola bar recipe caught my eye the other day on Pinterest, and I decided that it was exactly what I needed for my September Pinterest Remake. I don’t eat many granola bars any more, but I’ve always been a fan. And I’ve never tried making them myself. Now…I’m not sure why I never did it. They were so easy to make, they were full of whole, real ingredients, and – best of all – they tasted better than any other granola bar I’ve ever eaten.
I’m not joking.
Chewy Cinnamon Raisin Granola Bars
Hold on tight. These better-for-you granola bars taste way better than the bad-for-you alternatives! I changed them up quite a bit from the original posting. I think I might try the apple alternative to see how it is different from the raisin variety.
- 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
- 2/3 cup chopped walnuts (or other nuts)
- 1/3 cup flax seeds
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 9x9 inch baking dish with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper.
- Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray, and spread oats, nuts, and flax seeds out in an even layer (they can be mixed). Bake for 5-6 minutes, tossing/stirring twice, until the oats to just start to brown.
- In a small sauce pan, heat honey, coconut oil, and brown sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir for 3-4 minutes, or until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove pan from heat, stir in vanilla extract, and set aside to cool slightly.
- In a large mixing bowl, gently stir together crispy rice cereal, raisins, cinnamon, salt and toasted oat mixture. Pour in the honey mixture and stir until everything is well coated.
- Press everything into prepared 9x9 inch baking dish. Use a piece of parchment paper or waxed paper to press down on granola to pack it down evenly into baking dish.
- Place baking dish in refrigerator to chill for at least an hour before removing to cut into bars. To cut into bars, cut 9x9 square in half down the middle, and then cut nine 1-inch bars on each side.
- Wrap individual bars in plastic wrap or store in snack baggies to eat on the go.
You can substitute any of the dry ingredients (ie, oats, nuts, flax seeds, etc) for other similar ingredients as long as you keep the proportion similar (for instance, if you leave out the nuts, then add more oats or cereal, etc).
My husband was hooked just like I was…but my 14-year-old son had some criticisms. I’m keeping it real and letting you know what he said. Personally, I think he’s being a little too picky.
First, he complained that the granola bars broke apart too easily. I’d have to agree. I don’t know if I just needed to press them down more firmly in the baking dish or if it was simply a result of using coconut oil instead of butter. Either way, these granola bars might end up more like regular granola (which would still taste amazing). He also thought that the golden raisins were not the right fit for this granola bar, and that regular raisins would have been better. He also would have left out the butterscotch chips because he isn’t a fan of them. Those are certainly optional.
For more fun Pinterest Remakes, here are a few of my favorite bloggers:
- Halloween Bloody Eyeballs by Confessions of an Overworked Mom
- Halloween Hand Soap by Homemaking Hacks
- Sausage, Potatoes & Eggs Breakfast Skillet Recipe by A Mom”s Take
- Pepperoni Pizza Puffs by Jennifer Sikora
- High Fiber Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites Recipe by Sweep Tight
- DIY Wooden Pumpkins by Mom Does it All
- Chocolate Toffee Macaroons by How Was Your Day?
- Browned Butter Sugar Cookies by Upstate Ramblings
- Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Applesauce Recipe by Mom Always Finds Out
- Repurpose Project: Men’s Sweater into a Boy’s Sweater by Our Homemade Life
- Cookie Hacks by The Guavalicious Life
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