What kind of granola bar eater are you? Do you like soft and chewy granola bars or are you more of a crispy, crunchy fan? Are you in it for the sweetness and the chocolate or do you prefer simple, healthy ingredients? There are so many granola bars on the shelves of supermarkets today that it can be overwhelming to choose. As for me, I'm a crunchy granola bar fan who's mostly in it for the sugar. (Just being honest.)
Has anyone else been disillusioned by a protein bar that was mascarading as a granola bar only to be disappointed after first chalky bite? The best part about making homemade granola bars is that you can create exactly what you like. Sweeten em up, load em with fruits and nuts or pack them full of heart healthy whole grains. Whether your goal is to keep them on the healthy side or your aim is to create an all out sweet treat - there are a few things you need to know before you get started.
There are a lot of options when it comes to sweetening your granola bars. How much you add what type you add can really affect your end result. Here are some sweet choices to consider when making homemade granola bars.
* Brown Rice Syrup
* Maple Syrup
* Brown Sugar
* Sugar (White or Brown)
* Coconut Palm Sugar
Obviously, this isn't a comprehensive list of possible ways to sweeten a granola bar - it's just the ones that I've tried and had some good luck with. I normally use a combination of 2 or 3 of these sweeteners in my recipes. Did I mention that I like them sweet?
As for the grains - or the meat - of the granola bar, you've got plenty of options here too. These are my favorites.
* Oats (obviously)
* Puffed rice cereal
* Puffed Millet
* Wheat Germ
You can even boost the protein by adding a protein powder to your bars.
Next to the sugar, the nuts are the most crucial element in a great granola bar - in my opinion. I'm a huge nut lover so I have strong opinions about which nuts are best for granola bars.
* Almonds (Whole, Chopped, Slivered)
* Sunflower Seeds
* Pumpkin Seeds
Now for fillers. This is where I like to get creative.
* Dried Fruits (Craisins, Cherries, Apricots, Blueberries)
* Coconut Flakes
* Chocolate Chips
* Speculous Cookies (Biscoff)
* Peanut Butter
* Spices (Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice, Cloves)
Salt and vanilla are a non-negotiable. They are an absolute must have in all of my granola bar recipes. Occasionally, you'll run across recipes with added fat like butter, shortening or some sort of oil. A lot of soft granola bar recipes will also include an egg as a binder. Some recipes require baking and others do not. Granola bars are personal and there is unlimited number of options when it comes to making them.
Overwhelmed yet? Don't let the number of options scare you away from making your own batch of granola bars though. My goal is to give you some options so that you can make your own personalized granola bars. If you feel like you need some more guidelines, follow my simple instructions on the blog for Nut Bars or check out some of my other granola bar recipes.
1-1/2 cups whole roasted unsalted almonds
1 cup whole roasted unsalted peanuts
1 cup roasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup puffed millet, rice
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
I'm not going to sugar coat it - I love these granola bars. There's very little filler - mostly sugar and nuts. What's not to like about that? If you're a fan of Kind Bars - you will love these granola bars. I haven't calculated the calorie content in these nutty little bars of sweetness but they're definitely sweet enough to be a satisfying dessert. Just make sure that you store these in the refrigerator - they tend to get sticky if left at room temperature too long.
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