Granola bars are tasty treats for lunch boxes, car trips, picnics and just nibbling between meals, but they can get expensive and many are full of ingredients we don’t necessarily want.
Enter Mix-and-match Granola Bars! I created this recipe in my quest to find a healthy, economical granola bars for my family of six. The best part about this recipe is that you can customize it with whatever ingredients you have on hand — and it’s always tasty!
This makes a big batch because if you’re going to go to the trouble of making granola bars up then I think you should make enough that you don’t have to do it every day! Besides, they get gobbled up really quickly! They also store well, wrapped in aluminum foil or waxed paper.
These are no-bake, making them even easier to whip up in a hurry!
Alicia’s Mix and Match Granola Bars
Makes about 20 large bars or 30 smaller bars
4 cups quick cooking oats
3 cups dry cereal *
2 cups chopped dried fruit **
1 cup nuts or seeds ***
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup honey or agave
1 cup sunbutter, soy nut butter or peanut butter
2 tsp real vanilla
1. Grease and set aside a 9×13 or 10×14 inch baking pan.
2. In a very large bowl, stir together the oats, cereal, fruit and nuts.
3. Heat the brown sugar and honey in a pan over medium heat, stirring often, just until boiling. Remove from heat and stir in the nut butter and vanilla.
4. Pour hot mixture over dry mixture and mix well. (If you are adding in chocolate chips, allow the mixture to cool slightly so they do not melt.)
5. Press very firmly into prepared pan (wetting your hands can help a bit). Allow to cool and cut into bars.
* Good dry cereal choices: natural/organic versions of Rice Crispies, Cheerios and Corn Flakes. Rice Crispies are the perfect texture but anything crunchy will do.
** Dried fruit options: raisins, cranberries, blueberries, cherries, pineapple, etc. Diced prunes are surprisingly sweet and delicious but they’re rather sticky. I dust them with powdered sugar to chop them so they don’t make a sticky mass. You can also add ingredients like coconut and chocolate chips. Our favorite mix so far is chopped prunes, tart cherries, coconut and some white chocolate chips. You can also do themes like tropical with coconut, papaya, pineapple…
*** Nuts and seeds: Any nuts or seeds will do. These contribute protein, texture and a bigger health punch. Options include combinations of sunflower seeds, chopped almonds, pecans, sesame seeds, flax seeds, macadamia nuts….
You can find lots of fabulous choices for ingredients in the bulk sections of stores like Cub Foods in Mankato or The St. Peter Food Coop.
I wrap these in aluminum foil for on-the-go snacks (which can be reused for the next batch). They can be kept at room temperature or refrigerated. They are slightly sticky and soft at room temperature, or at least they are in the summer.