Back when Lance had more time in the kitchen (I think we were between house-flips) he perfected my favorite breakfast food. I use to buy every kind of granola bar on the shelf. I felt like Goldie Locks; one pack was too crunchy, one brand too chewy, one kind tasted like cardboard (I assume)…
We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons. ~Alfred E. Newman
I tell my kids, if you can read, you can cook. Don’t be afraid to experiment. I never seem to have wheat germ on hand, no biggie. When making it today, my jar of dates were a little ‘furry’, so raisins and apricots to the rescue! Molasses is my miracle cure, so I glop in more of it (and less honey).
As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow
Just look at the list of ingredients, they scream HEALTHY & YUMMY… And, in true smart guy fashion, his recipe has footnotes. Sure, why not? They are helpful. Here’s a pic of the pan I made today (I doubled the batch).
These are (in my granola-crazed opinion) the best granola bars I’ve ever eaten (or made). Don’t take my word for it, give it a try.
Lance’s Granola Bars
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- 2 cups rolled oats
- ¼ cup wheat germ/bran
- ¼ cup flaxseed (can be milled)
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup chopped nuts (take your pick)
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/3 cup light or dark molasses
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp Kosher salt
Approximately 8 oz. dried fruit (by weight)
Mix the dry ingredients in a baking dish with sides (about 11×13 inches). Toast them in the oven for 10-12 minutes, stirring every few minutes with a large spatula so that they don’t get burned. Resist the urge to shake the dish to even out the mixture. This will cause the smaller pieces to settle to the bottom of the dish and burn.
Put the brown sugar, honey, butter, vanilla, and salt into a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.
Add dried fruit to a large mixing bowl. You may want to chop to appropriate size and mix well if using different fruits.
Once the dry ingredients are baked, add to dried fruit and mix well (set baking dish aside to cool).
Now the baking dish should be cool enough to line with waxed paper, lightly sprayed with a nonstick spray.
Add the syrup to the dry ingredients and mix everything REALLY WELL because you want to make sure the “glue” gets all over everything. Now, dump your granola mixture into your prepared baking dish.
Spread out the mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula and fold over the sides of the waxed paper or add a sheet on top, and PRESS HARD all over the granola. You want to compact it together so that your bars won’t fall apart when you cut them.
Wait 2-3 hours or until the granola has totally cooled.
Then, open the waxed paper …
Now, firmly pressing down with a big knife (not sawing), cut your granola into whatever size bars you’d like.
I wrapped ours individually in plastic wrap, so that we could just throw one into our bag or lunch box in the morning. If you’d like to save on packaging though, you can store yours in an airtight container, between sheets of waxed paper (so they don’t stick together).
Of course, you can mix up the recipe. During the pressing-down part, u can press almonds into the top of the bars.
Another combo that would be fun to try is macadamia nuts, dried pineapple, and coconut flakes.
Or try dried cranberries, walnuts, and white chocolate chips (just a few).
 Refined, raw, light or dark brown, depending upon preference. I almost always use dark brown. The light & dark brown sugars tend to soften the bars.
 Darker molasses provides a ‘richer’ flavor. Additional honey can be used in place of molasses. Honey is easier to mix and makes for a softer bar.
 More butter softens the bars, less makes them crunchier, but mixing becomes more difficult with less.
 I’ve used as much as 3 Tbsp.
 Omit the salt if your nuts are already salted.
 I use a Pampered Chef “Mix ‘N Chop” which works great.
 I sometimes use a pizza cutter.