My new favorite granola bars

I don’t normally post recipes, but this one turned out so much better than I expected that I have to share.

A little backstory: I’ve been trying to come up with a recipe for granola bars for a while now, but so far have been disappointed in the results, which have all been way too sweet. I’ve also been hoping to use up some of the excess food we’ve amassed for various reasons. I have on hand, at this very moment:

  • five cans of sweetened condensed milk
  • three and a half largeish canisters of quick-cooking oats
  • two Cosco-sized containers of sweetened applesauce (Kai and I prefer unsweetened)
  • wheat germ (I love wheat germ, but it usually goes bad before I finish it)
  • flax seed meal from my lactation bar/oatmeal days.

Surely there is some way to make granola bars out of this stuff, right?

Well, I haven’t tried any of the applesauce recipes, but I did find a recipe that uses the oats and the sweetened condensed milk. And it’s good! The consistency of the bars is closer to no-bake cookies than granola bars, but they meet all of my criteria: fast, easy, customizable, no weird ingredients, and Kai can eat them. (Anya is in that foodphobic stage of preschoolerhood, but if she’d give these a shot, she’d love them.)

These make a pretty big batch; no way could I eat them all myself before they went stale. But Kai is more than happy to help me out. The kid literally hoots when he sees them on the counter.

Because I do a lot of recipe collecting online, I won’t reinvent the wheel here — this recipe is a lot easier to save, print, and share from the source:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/25794/easy-granola-bars/

My tweaks:

  • I added some wheat germ (about a cup) and flax seed meal (about 1/3 cup) in place of the coconut, because I had them on hand and was out of coconut. (I bought some for the next batch, though!)
  • I skipped the cranberries and substituted sunflower seeds for the almonds (same quantity) to make them easier for Kai to eat. (Kiddo only has 4 teeth.)
  • I doubled the chocolate chips to make up for the loss of the cranberries.

I baked these for 20 minutes in a greased 13 x 9 Pyrex pan, cooled them completely, then cut them into bars. I found a metal spatula to be the easiest tool for cutting; with a little pressure, the bars simply pop apart. (So not the experience I’ve had with other recipes.)

I was going to try an applesauce granola bar recipe next, but I think we’ve found our master recipe here. I’ll try something else with the applesauce. Maybe some sort of quick bread. Fall is approaching, after all.

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