Monday, May 16, 2011

Very Berry Granola Bars

NOTE: New Photos Coming Soon. Technical Difficulties lead to the deletion of my precious pics. Hopefully when I make this next time I'll be able to post more. My apologies.

(I adapted the Joyful Abode recipe. Joyful Abode is a wonderful site to get recipes, home & garden projects, and fun craft ideas, all revolved around simplicity, a small budget, and a healthy kitchen.)

When my husband & I bought granola bars, typically there were 6-8 bars in a box and that box cost almost $5.00, maybe more, depending on the brand. This recipe yields 16 bars for much cheaper.  And, of course, it's healthier due to the lack of crazy, unnecessary fillers.

2 cups of oats
1/4 cup ground flax seed*
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup peanuts
1/2 cup brown sugar OR 1/2 cup stevia & 1 T molasses (mix with fork)
1/2 cup all natural honey
2 tbsp butter (We use Earth Balance natural spread)
2 tsp vanilla extract
8 oz dried berry fruit (we used dried blueberries, strawberries, cranberries & cherries)


1. Crush peanuts in a ziploc bag using the bottom of a measuring cup (or whatever works) to smash it against the counter.
2. Mix peanuts, flax seed, sunflower seeds, and oats together. Put on cookie sheet (with sides) and put in 375 degree oven for 8-10 minutes until lightly toasted. Mix halfway through to prevent sides from burning.
3. Put brown sugar, honey, butter, and vanilla extract in saucepan and simmer, constantly stirring.  This will be the "glue" for your bars. Stir until melted together.
4. Mix everything, including dried fruit, in large bowl. Stir until all of the dry ingredients are coated with your "glue".
5. Spread mixture into a glass baking dish lined with wax paper & coated with a non-stick spray. Lay another piece of wax paper on top of the mixture and press down on the mixture to pack it tightly, even using the bottom of a measuring cup to pound on it.  You want it flat and tightly packed.
6. Once packed tightly, put in the refrigerator for an hour.  After an hour, flip onto a cutting board and proceed to cut into about 16 bars, depending on the size of your pan.
7. Individually wrap in saran wrap or put into a large container to store at room temperature.

ENJOY your cheap, and healthier homemade granola bars!



  1. this recipe looks awesome. do you think there's a way to substitute brown rice syrup or agave nectar for the brown sugar? i'd love to experiment, but i'm no good at guessing proportions for substitutions.

  2. Great question! You can actually use agave syrup! For this recipe specifically, use 1/4 cup instead of the 1/2 cup of brown sugar. No-sugar syrups are great as well. Same thing- 1/4 cup.

  3. I have made several of your recipes with great success, but I just can't seem to make these work for me. The alterations I made were to use 1 c. rice cereal in place of 1 of the cups of oats, rather than 1 c. peanuts and 3/4 c. sunflower seeds, I used 1 3/4 c. of an almond/peanut/sunflower blend, and in place of the brown sugar I used 1/4 c. agave syrup as your comments suggested I could. Since I used the same proportions of nuts and grains as your recipe, I don't think that should have made any difference at all...

    The mix smelled amazing (and still does) and tastes great, and I smashed them down hard in the pan, but I just can't get them to stay together. They are so soft that when you pick them up, they fall into pieces immediately, so I tried dumping in some extra rice cereal to bulk them up and adjust the dry-to-wet ratio. It helped some, but they still were too soft, so I tried baking them...still no luck.

    Have you made these with agave in place of the brown sugar? I wonder if it has something to do with how sugar caramelizes...I don't know that agave caramelizes when simmered...? I am at a loss.

  4. Honestly, I make mine with brown sugar regularly. I think you might be right in that the agave just doesn't have the sticky/holding nature that brown sugar does. You might have to stick with making small granola balls rather than bars to make it work with the agave. Maybe an all natural maple syrup would work better. Sorry to hear it's not working as well for you. If I find something that works as a brown sugar sub. I'll let you know! Thanks for reading!! =)

  5. I'll play around with it as well. Regardless of whether they hold together, my fam approves of the flavor, as do I! They are quite delicious. Perhaps coconut crystals would do the trick...I may have to try it.