I have a hard time buying granola bars at the store. I think it’s because they’re somewhat expensive for such a little snack, they’re never as healthy as they appear, and half the time they don’t fill you up anyways!
Growing up, my mom made us homemade granola bars. They were individually wrapped in foil, waiting in the freezer whenever you needed a snack or something to pack in your lunch. So it got me thinking, why don’t I just make my own too!
Obviously the base of granola bars is granola, but the rice krispies really help to keep the bars light and add a nice little crunch. To try and combat the afternoon munchies, I wanted plenty of protein. I chose almonds, cashews and pumpkin seeds for that. I threw in some chia seeds just because I had them and everyone says they’re so healthy. For the fruity contrast I went with dried cranberries and dried cherries. I added some coconut because, why not, and chocolate chips because we can’t have these tasting toooo healthy.
The original recipe mentioned waiting for the peanut butter to cool before mixing in, otherwise the chocolate chips will melt. As you can see in my pictures, I didn’t listen well enough to instructions. Oops! They will taste the same, but if you want yours more like traditional granola bars with individual chocolate chips as opposed to melted chocolate throughout, just make sure to give your peanut butter time to cool off a bit.
If you’ve ever been tempted to make your own granola bars, just do it! It was so quick and easy, and they are so customizable. Choose whatever nuts or fruits you like or play with different flavor combinations for endless options. The best part is they can be kept frozen, so you’ll have a perfect snack option for months! If they last that long…
Homemade Loaded Granola Bars (adapted from Super Healthy Kids)
- 2/3 c almonds
- 2/3 c cashews
- 1/4 c pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 c chia seeds
- 1/3 c dried cranberries
- 1/3 c dried cherries
- 1/2 c shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 c oats
- 3/4 c rice krispy cereal
- 1/2-3/4 c mini chocolate chips (3/4 c made them very sweet for me!)
- 1 c peanut butter
- 1/2 c honey
- sea salt
- Line a 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper.
- In large bowl, mix together the nuts, seeds, dried fruit, coconut, oats, cereal and chocolate chips.
- Slightly melt the peanut butter and honey, enough so they are easily combined in a small bowl.
- Let peanut butter and honey mixture cool, otherwise chocolate chips will melt!
- Pour the peanut butter and honey mixture over the nuts and fruit and stir until fully incorporated.
- Pour mixture into the baking pan and press evenly. Continue pressing for another minute or two, as this is what helps the bars hold their shape.
- Sprinkle with sea salt if desired.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before removing bars and cutting into strips.
- Bars can be stored in either the fridge or freezer, in an airtight container or ziplock bag.