I’ve been on a quest to make the perfect homemade granola bar for years. I’ve tried lots of recipes and I’ve also tried to create my own recipe from scratch. Baked, unbaked, crunchy, chewy…they’ve certainly all been edible, and some have been good enough to make a second time, but I haven’t found The One. I want a granola bar that doesn’t rely on a lot of added sugar to taste good, that can handle some variation of ingredients, and stays together, for the love. It’s a bummer to cut into your pan of granola “bars” and watch them turn into crumbs before your eyes (or fall to pieces after knocking around in a lunch bag).
I have yet to find this ultimate granola bar – but then I tried these breakfast cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction, and the search suddenly seemed much less important. They’re sweetened with just 1/4 cup of honey (or maple syrup) in a batch of more than a dozen, you can substitute lots of the ingredients to change them up, and the round shape stays together perfectly and even travels well. Plus – they taste so good, and are the best parts of trail mix and granola held together in a dense and chewy cookie.
I’ve made the version I’m detailing here at least 5 times: chopped pecans or almonds, raisins, and cranberries, with almond butter and honey. According to Sally, the recipe is extremely flexible, though – dare I suggest a chopped peanuts, chocolate chips, and peanut butter/maple syrup version? Drool.
There are also no rules about how you mix these up – just dump it all in a bowl and stir (or use a mixer!)
I use a 1/4-cup measuring cup to portion out the dough. I usually get 15 cookies out of a batch, but my helper today was rather ravenous, so we ended up with 14 somehow. I’m out of parchment paper, but I recommend using it!
The cookies won’t spread, so flatten them down a bit after you scoop them.
They bake until they’re just toasty on the edges, and are the perfect running-out-the-door breakfast or filling, energizing snack! I’m not usually a calorie-counter, but I ran the numbers on these out of curiosity. They’re very similar in calories and nutrient breakdown (fat, carbs, and protein) to KIND bars or Lara bars, which are store-bought bars we like (but at around $5 for a box of 4, we can’t afford to eat those every day!). Give these a try for a healthy, easy alternative – and holler at me if you have a granola bar recipe for me to try!
- 2 cups quick oats (not rolled oats; you can also create quick oats by pulsing rolled oats in a food processor or blender a few times)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt (you may need more if you use unsalted nut butter)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup almond butter (or peanut butter, or sunflower seed butter)
- 1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup)
- 1/4 cup applesauce (or apple butter)
- 1 large banana, mashed
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I’ve used almonds or pecans)
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
- Preheat the oven to 325. In a large bowl, combine the oats, salt, cinnamon, almond butter, honey, applesauce, mashed banana, and mix-ins (see notes below) and mix well.
- Scoop dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet using a 1/4 cup measuring cup. Flatten the cookies slightly (they don’t spread so they’ll be whatever size and shape you make them at this point).
- Bake for 15-16 minutes until they are beginning to brown at the edges. Cool on cookie sheets and store at room temperature for up to a week, or freeze indefinitely!
I love this mix-in combination, but feel free to play around with it! The total quantity should be about 1.5 cups or less, but use whatever dried fruit, nuts, seeds, ahem chocolate, etc. that you like!
I have used both applesauce and apple butter and I like both – the apple butter makes the cookies slightly sweeter and you get hints of spiciness. With applesauce, the cookie is a little blander but that just lets your chosen mix-ins shine! I suspect you could also use an additional half of a banana.
Adapted slightly from Sally’s Baking Addiction – see the link for her favorite mix-in combination!