Homemade GRANOLA BARS: Create endless variety with just one recipe chart!



Homemade granola bars are the perfect on-the-go snack. We like them because they're a tidy, hand-held snack that fits nicely into a lunchbox, backpack or purse. But store-bought granola bars can be expensive, and they often contain unwanted ingredients--while lacking the truly healthy ones. It's time to take matters into your own hands! Today, I'm going to show you how to make any variety of granola bar with just one easy-to-follow formula. Once you try my free-style recipe chart, you can kiss store-bought good-bye! Say hello to unlimited healthy creations made by YOU!

Why homemade?

Would you like to stash your pantry full of healthy grab-and-go snack bars that contain only the ingredients you choose? You probably won't find many store-bought granola bars offering ingredients like quinoa or chia seeds. Yet when you make your own, you're the boss. Go ahead. Pile in the healthy stuff. It's not as complicated as you may think. In fact, when you know the basic formula, it's easy to plug in any number of wholesome ingredients and turn out delicious granola bars every time. 

With my free-style recipe chart, I've removed the guesswork for you. Simply select your choice of ingredients from each category and mix it all together. You can even mix and match within any given category, but I'll explain that more in a bit. The great thing about this one-size-fits-all formula is that it's pretty much fail-safe, while letting you select from what you have on hand in your pantry. Sure, you'll love some concoctions more than others, but that's why you write each one down. So when you turn out a winner, you know how you did it. 

Free-style baking is fun. Like my DIY Granola Cereal Formula, and my Free-Style Muffin Mix Chart, today's DIY Free-Style Granola Bar Chart turns baking into a creative adventure. (I'll even show you how it's done, by walking you through one of my recent creations: Chocolate-Cherry-Almond Granola Bars. After that, spreading your wings won't hurt a bit. Are you curious? Then let's get started!


So, what's the basic formula for making granola bars? 

Making granola bars is just as flexible as making granola cereal. Here is the basic break-down of ingredients:

Whole Grains: 2 1/2 cups
Flour: 1 cup
Add ins: (optional)
     Raw Nuts/Seeds: 1 cup
     Dried Fruit: 1 cup
     Candy Chips: 3/4 cup     
Sweetener: 1 1/4 cup (based on sugar; other sweetener amounts vary)
Spices: (amounts vary, see chart)
Extracts: (2 to 3 teaspoons)
Oil: 1/2 cup
Egg: 1, lightly beaten

How we turn the basic formula into a free-style recipe chart

Once we know the basic formula, it's easy to create a free-style recipe chart with categories of ingredients. We simply take the above recipe components and place them as the headings in our granola bar recipe chart. To create a custom granola bar, simply select one or more ingredients from each category in the chart. If selecting more than one ingredient from any given category, just be sure the total combination for that category equals the total called for amount in the heading. For example, you might combine from the whole grains category 1 cup rolled oats, 1 cup rolled barely and 1/2 cup steel cut oats. (Mixing this way adds variety, flavor, texture and more diverse nutrition). When you add these three items together, you get the called for 2 1/2 cups for the whole grains category. Clear as mud so far? Hang in there! It's about to all make sense. Let's take a look at the chart below...

The affiliate links included in the following chart lead to ALL-NATURAL, ORGANIC, GMO-free products (except a couple that are noted). We use these products ourselves, or are familiar with the brand and we trust it. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we receive a small commission payment from the company you buy from. Thank you for supporting Farm Girl Inspirations!

DIY Free-Style Granola Bar Chart
Choose all-natural, organic, GMO-free ingredients for the best granola bars, or follow the links provided below to find these products on-line.

Whole Grains: 2 1/2 cups *(unless otherwise noted)
Flour: 1 cup
Nuts / Seeds (optional): cup *(unless otherwise noted)
Dried Fruit Add-ins (optional): 1 cup
Candy Chips Add-ins (optional): 3/4 cup
Spices: (See suggested amounts for each spice)
Extracts: 2 to 3 teaspoons
Sweetener: 1 1/4 cup (amount of sugar: other sweetener amounts vary)
*Note: The amounts listed below are the approximate equivalents to sugar. Not all sweeteners are equivalent to sugar. If you mix two or more sweeteners, expect a variance in the level of sweetness. To avoid over sweetening, select no more than two sweeteners, then reduce each by 1/4 to 1/2 the called for amounts below. So for example, instead of using 3/4 cup maple syrup and 1 1/4 cup brown sugar; you would use 1/2 cup maple syrup and 3/4 cup brown sugar. 

Oil: 1/2 cup
Egg: 1-lightly beaten


And that's the chart! Are you getting the idea of how it works? Let's make a batch of granola bars together. To walk you through the baking instructions, we'll use my Chocolate-Cherry-Almond Granola Bar recipe that I recently creating using this free-style chart (these bars ranked a high yum factor among my family, so I think you'll like them). 

How to make free-style granola bars

(Sample recipe: Chocolate-Cherry-Almond Granola Bars)


Here are the ingredients (with the free-style categories shown) that I chose from the above recipe chart to make Chocolate-Cherry-Almond Bars:

Ingredients

(Grains: 2 1/2 cups)

2 1/4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup quinoa

(Flour: 1 cup)

1 cup all-purpose flour

(Add-in / Dried Fruit: 1 cup)
1 cup dried tart cherries

(Add-in / Nuts--Seeds: 1 cup)
1/2 cup hemp seeds
1/2 cup sliced almonds

(Add-in / Candy Chips: 3/4 cup)
3/4 cup chocolate chips

(Sweetener: 1 1/4 cup) 
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey

(Oil: 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup olive oil

(Egg: 1)
1 egg, slightly beaten

(Spices: Amounts vary)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tsp kosher salt

(Extracts: 2 to 3 teaspoons)
2 1/2 teaspoons almond extract


Instructions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 

Step 1: Select your ingredients. Using the DIY Free-Style Granola Bar Chart above, select your ingredients based on: 


  • What you have on hand
  • What you think will taste good together
  • What you want your bars to offer nutritionally 
Be sure to write your selections down along with the amounts you choose to use so you have a record of it. My free-style chart shows the total called for amounts for each category, but as you can see from my sample recipe, you can combine multiple items within any given group. How you break these down is up to you. Just make sure to make their combined total equal the called for amount for that category. Once you have an idea of the ingredients you're going to use, it's time to start concocting!

Step 2: Measure all your dry ingredients into a large bowl, then mix them together until thoroughly combined. 



Step 3: Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix the oil, egg, chosen extracts, and any liquid sweeteners into the dry mixture and combine. TIP: If using honey, put the oil in first, then use the same measuring cup to measure your honey. Your honey will slide right out of the cup without sticking to the sides. 


Step 4: Spread mixture into a pan and bake. Line a 9 X 13 inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a few extra inches up the sides (this will make removing the bars easier). Spray the parchment paper with cooking spray once it's placed in the dish. Place the granola bar mix into the dish and press it out with your fingers, or the back of spoon, until it's evenly spread to fill the bottom of the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, or until the edges turn a golden brown.


Step 5:  Allow bars to cool before cutting. When the bars are done, remove them from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes before cutting. Don't let them cool completely, or they will be more likely to crumble when you cut them. After 30 minutes, while still warm, cut into 16 rectangular bars. 


Step 6: Wrap the bars and store. To store your granola bars, it helps to wrap them individually so they don't stick together. Cut strips of parchment paper that are about 3 x 6 inches. Wrap each bar and tie a piece of bakers twine around it. Store wrapped bars in an air-tight container in your fridge. Use within 1 week. Or you can freeze your bars, in which case they should be used within 3 months.


Do you make your own granola bars? Did today's free-style chart spark any recipe ideas you'd like to try? I'd love to hear from you.

Until next time...


Joy--Fearless Farm Girl,

"Farm girl: it's a verb, because it's what you do."



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DIY GRANOLA (cereal): Includes free-style chart for endless variety.

Homemade BEEF JERKY the fast and easy way.

DIY No-Knead BREAD MIX: Fresh bread every day made easy.

DIY MUFFIN MIX with free-style recipe chart.

13 comments:

  1. Love your photo of the wrapped bars, very nice!! I make my own granola but have never had any luck making granola bars, they always come out crumbly. Thanks for the tips!

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    1. You're welcome, Candy :-) So far, the granola bars I've made haven't been too crumbly. I suppose it's possible that with some ingredients, some batches might be more crumbly than others. Good luck! Hope this recipe chart inspires lots of winners.

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  2. Awesome idea! I love the chart, makes this so easy, thank you :)

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    1. You're welcome! Thanks for stopping by. Have fun creating :)

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  3. Oh, I like! I'm allergic to nuts and seeds, so it drives me nuts when all granola and granola bar recipes contain them. I have to use this. Pinning, pinning .... LOL

    GREAT post - this must have taken you a long time to write!

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    1. Thank you! I've been working on it a while. I'm glad you'll find it useful. My family has enjoyed doing this together, making both granola bars and granola cereal. Thanks for your comment :)

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    2. My granddaughter is to, can you leave the nuts out completely?

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  4. I LOVE this! I'm going to print it for reference! Thanks for putting this all together for us! :)

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    1. You're welcome Andrea! Glad you like you it.

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  5. LOVE this. I am away from my printer right now but this will get printed as soon as I return. thanks for doing this and sharing. I love granola bars; this looks fun, delish and more healthy than store bought!

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    1. Thanks for your comment :) Yes, these will be much healthier. Have fun with the chart!

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  6. LOVE this. I am away from my printer right now but this will get printed as soon as I return. thanks for doing this and sharing. I love granola bars; this looks fun, delish and more healthy than store bought!

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  7. just made these and realized i forgot the egg...UGH UGH UGH...they are quite crumbled after cooking, and a bit too salty for me (i didn't add any dry fruit which might be why) I would cut the salt in half and ramp up the spices by double. I would make again and hopefully remember to add the egg next time lol!

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