February 29, 2012
My family is a bit picky when it comes to granola bars. They tend to like the not-so-healthy store bought kind, the kind with weird sounding ingredients. I’ve tried make homemade ones in the past, and while they were perfectly tasty they never had the same consistency that my family seems to like in the store bought ones. I’ve experimented with different variations, trying to come up with something with no refined sugar or corn syrup.
My past attempts have been dismal at best.
THIS attempt however, I would say is a success! The secret is brown rice syrup, which adds the brown sugar flavor that I think I’ve been missing. If you’re wondering where the heck you find brown rice syrup, it’s really much easier to find than you’d think. You can get it at any health food store, but I actually picked mine up at Wal-Mart of all places. It was in the syrup aisle, and is actually a maple syrup substitute made from brown rice syrup. These bars are a bit of a kitchen sink experiment, with white and milk chocolate chips, raisins, and leftover crushed up dulce de leche cheerios. Straight from the oven they were more of a cookie consistency, but the next morning they settled and had a great soft and chewy consistency, which lasted for several days. They were so good that I’m already planning my next batch and all the variations I can try!
*UPDATE: After doing some research, it seems that brown rice syrup may be questionable in it's safety. If you'd like to find out more and do your own research, I suggest you start with this article. For those that decide not use brown rice syrup, I'm thinking agave syrup or maple syrup may be a good substitute that will yield a similar result.
Soft & Chewy Oatmeal Bars
(Serves: 8-10) Printable Recipe
3/4 + 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats (divided)
1/2 cup cereal divided (I used cheerios)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used half white and half milk chocolate chips)
1/4 cup raisins
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (can use wheat flour too)
1/4 cup neutral tasting oil
5 tbsp honey
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup cereal (like cheerios)
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Place 3/4 cup oats, 1/4 cup of cereal, chocolate chips and raisin in a food processor. Pulse a few times to break up the ingredients. Don’t go crazy or you’ll change the consistency of your bar. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the baking soda, salt, vanilla, flour, oil, honey, and brown rice syrup. Mix just until combined. The mixture will form a soft dough that resembles a cookie dough in texture.
Fold in the remaining 1/4 cup of oats and 1/4 cup of cereal until combined. Lightly press this mixture into the prepared 9×9 pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the bars are lightly browned on top. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Cut into bars, serve and enjoy!