No-Bake Granola Bars

I know I should begin with an introduction of some type since this is my first time posting on MFP,  however that makes me feel like an awkward, insecure teenage girl trying to convince people to like me and my blog, My Kitchen Escapades.  So instead, I will just have to win you over with my recipes because my food does a better job of convincing people to like me than my personality.  Honestly.

As a momma to six kiddos (Yes, I know.  They’re the cutest kids you’ve ever seen), I realize summer time is a delicate balancing act that can easily come crashing down around you if you lack any of the following necessities:
  1. Food…..and mountains of it! — Not only are you feeding your family but also the endless supply of friends and neighbors who know you keep mountains of food at your house.
  2. Entertainment — This comes in so many different forms depending on a child’s age and interests, but it all boils down to one critical point:  if your kids get bored, they come and find YOU!!!
  3. Work — Everyone home 24/7 = Everything a mess 24/7 if everyone doesn’t do their part to survive.
  4. Time — It can be 15 minutes or it can be a whole afternoon but those moments of time you spend together as a family is what your kids will remember when they reminisce about the Summer of 2013.
Last week, as I battled to keep up with Necessity #1, my kids were begging me to whip up their favorite Chewy Granola Bars.  However, it was hot outside and there was no way I was turning on the oven. You see, I live in a beautiful 120 year old home here in Minnesota but it loses a bit of its beauty every summer due to the lack of central air.  We have window units but they are so hideously loud and ugly that we wait as long as we can to install them.
My lack of A/C got my recipe brain churning and I played with my original recipe to create a no-bake version.  Success!  You get to stay in the attic in a few more weeks monstrous window A/C units.
The kids and I had so much fun creating all the different variations of this same recipe base.  I made one double batch of the base, but used these five different mix-ins to create all our favorites.  Actually, I created SIX varieties, because my oldest son only likes plain granola bars.  Have fun with this base and mix in all the great stuff your own family loves!  I’m sure you can come up with amazing variations that will make mine seems as boring as my son’s plain ones :)

**UPDATE 3/7/14**  I have received many questions about using coconut oil instead of butter, and agave instead of honey, so I created a revised recipe using those substitutions!  Just click here for the instructions and tell me what you think.  I can’t tell the difference!  Carole

No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars

(recipe makes a 9×13 pan)

recipe by Carole Jones of My Kitchen Escapades

2 cups quick cooking oats (or pulse whole oats in a food processor a bit)

1 C rice crispy cereal

1/4 C shredded coconut

1/4 C butter

1/4 C honey

1/2 C brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix -In variations listed below

1.  In a large mixing bowl, mix together the oats, cereal and coconut.  Set a small saucepan over medium high heat and melt the butter.  Add the honey, brown sugar and salt.  Stir together then leave it alone as it comes to a boil.  Once the boil has reached all the way around the edges of the pan, begin timing.  Allow this mixture to boil for 2 minutes and 15 seconds.  During this time, you may need to turn the heat down a bit so it doesn’t overflow, but be sure it keeps boiling.

2.  Add the vanilla and then pour the mixture over the oats, using a rubber spatula to get all the sugar mixture out of the pan.  Mix the ingredients together until the oats are completely coated.  Add in your desired mix-in then press very firmly into a lightly greased 9×13″ pan.  If you like your bars thicker, you can use a smaller pan.  If you do not press firmly enough, the bars will fall apart when you eat them.  Place them in the fridge for 20 minutes then cut to size.

Chocolate Chip

Add 1/2 C of mini chocolate chips to the finished mixture before pressing into the pan, allowing it cool just a bit or you will end up with melted chips.  Sprinkle on a few extra chips over the top after they are pressed into the pan.

White Chocolate Cranberry

Add 1/3 C of white chocolate chips and 1/3 C of Craisins to the finished mixture before pressing into the pan, allowing it to cool just a bit first or you will end up with melted chips.

Candy Bar

Add 1/3 C of Heath bar pieces, 1/3 C of mini M&M’s and 1/3 C of chopped pretzels to the finished mixture before pressing into the pan.

Peanut Butter

Add 2 Tb of peanut butter to the finished sugar mixture before pouring it over the oats.  Once mixed with the oats, add 1/2 C peanut butter chips before pressing into the pan.

Raisin Nut

Add 1/3 C of chopped raisins and 1/3 C of chopped pecans to the finished mixture before pressing into the pan.

Here are a few more recipes you should try from Carole:

Parmesan Chicken Bake

Screen Shot 2013-06-21 at 11.20.15 AM

Sauce Pan M&M Cookies

Almond Poppy Seed Coffee Cake with Almond Streusel

 Screen Shot 2013-06-21 at 11.46.04 AM

 

You can also find me on Pinterest | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

Link Parties: The Shabby Nest/Chic on A Shoestring/Whipperberry/Truly Lovely/Naptime Crafters/Shaken Together/Simply Designing/The Answer is Chocolate/My Romantic Home/VMG206/While He Was Napping/The Frugal Gals/The French Country Cottage/Serenity Now/Somewhat Simple/Craftionary/Just Us Four/The Pin Junkie/Living Well Spending Less/Thirty Handmade Days/Be Betsy

Comments

  1. I love granola bars, and this is an awesome recipe!

  2. I love this idea! Healthier and cheaper than store bought, too! Love your photo, also, very fun! Thanks for linking at ShareAtopia! If you’d like a featured button, I have one on our about page.

  3. Yummy! Would love you to share it at our Ladies Only Blog Share Link Party which is a summer theme this week! Visiting from the Pin Junkie link party! :)

  4. I love that there are so many variations to choose from. Thx for sharing Carol!

  5. DELICIOUS!

  6. Yum! We love granola bars in our house so these would be perfect! I can’t wait to give them a try.

  7. Jennifer says:

    Holy crap! Now Mommy makes the best granola bars! I used caramel/milk chocolate swirl chips. This is going to be a problem. I can see these as more addictive than Rice Krispie treats…

  8. yum pinning these I have everything but the honey…on the list!

  9. How long can you store these for?

    • I asked Carole and she has the same results as I have in my house. They never last longer than a week because we eat them all!

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Can you sub the coconut for something else? I’m allergic to it, and I’d like to try these.

  11. Jennifer says:

    I made these a couple days ago and they were awesome! I followed the recipe exactly for the chocolate chip version. They were pretty sweet, next time I may cut back some of the brown sugar or honey just a bit. I probably also compacted them too much, they were REALLY compact. I really smushed them down, maybe I overdid it a little! I also like thicker bars, so I made mine in an 8×8 pan, and they were all gone by the next morning. Thanks for the recipe!

  12. Looks like a great easy to make recipe! Perfect hiking snack. Love that there’s different varieties to make too. Also…that coffee cake looks delicious! I’m gonna check out that recipe next. Thanks!

  13. These are great! I’ve made them twice now, thank you!

  14. I just made these and noticed the directions didn’t actually say when to add the vanilla, so the vanilla didn’t make it in. I used dried cranberries and crushed heheath bars and they are pretty tasty!

    • So glad you liked them, Rachel. They make a perfect back to school treat! Crushed heath bars sound great to me.

    • I have made these bars 6-7 times and they are delicious. So easy to stir up, even at the last minute, and they give you the glow you feel when you’re eating something good for you! But I had the same problem: unless I’ve missed it, the instructions don’t tell you when to add the vanilla. I add it when I take the syrup mixture off the stove. Another tip: I hate to get my hands all yucky pressing the bars in the pan, so I spray Pam on the rubbermaid spatula and press down that way. I also placed plastic wrap over the bars so I could press them down more firmly before refrigerating them. Again, thanks so much for a great recipe!

  15. Love the taste of the granola bars, but I’ve varied the recipe four times and I can’t seem to get them to stick together!! Any tips or tricks?

    • Carole says to press down really firmly. If you do not press firmly enough they will crumble when you eat them. Hopefully this will solve the problem and you can enjoy your yummy Granola Bars even more!

  16. What a great idea!

    How do you like to store the bars?

  17. I was wondering if there was a way to “over pack” them? I pushed them hard to pack it in the pan but when I took it out of the fridge to cut, they started to crumble? I still have bars but the sides are crumbly. Also, I didn’t add the coconut and vanilla. Would that make them more crumbly?

    • April, it might have made a difference that the coconut and vanilla were omitted. Hopefully they still tasted good and you can just sprinkle the extra on some ice cream!

  18. I just made these and they are delicious! I am hooked! Thanks for the amazing recipe!

  19. These are delicious! I substituted organic coconut palm sugar for the sugar and they turned out fantastic. I will never ever buy granola bars from the grocery store again. Thank you for the awesome recipe!

  20. Staci Gilstrap says:

    How do you store these?

  21. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I have most of the ingredients on hand, and what I don’t is on sale for me to buy this week So I am super excited to make these! I love how they have no dairy (except for the butter, but I am going to use oil and honey). I have two questions though. Could I substitute the coconut oil for canola oil? And should the shredded coconut be sweetened or unsweetened?

    Whenever I go to the grocery store, looking to buy granola bars, it is a challenge. I am lactose intolerant, and most of the bars there have milk in them. I found ONE kind that didn’t, but later thought to myself, ‘am I really just going to eat this one granola bar for the rest of my life??’ It’s kind of boring. Now I can make my own, and put in whatever I want! Thanks so much!

    • Oh I am so glad you found this too Adriana! I am going to guess that you can substitute the coconut oil without a problem and the shredded coconut will just be to your taste. This has been one of our more popular posts. We’d love to hear how it works for you!

  22. Trying these now, but when does the vanilla go in? After boiling?

  23. You make it seem so easy but the transition from boiling sugar to pour on top of the oats mixture allows you about a minute to be able to scrape it all out and thoroughly mix it before it’s a hard consistency already. Dissapointed in this.

    • I agree with you, I make my own granola all the time, with a similar boiled mixture, but then I bake the granola. I had the same issue with these, once boiled and poured, the mixture immediately stuck to the sides of my bowl and hardened before I could mix it all in, leaving me with not enough liquid to coat all of the ingredients. They are currently in the fridge but I could tell as I pressed them that they were probably not going to set up! I am wondering if making more of the liquid mixture would help ensure everything gets coated!

  24. For those that had their’s crumble, I used a smaller 8×8 pan to smash them down really hard. Juat make sure to place parchment paper in between so the pans don’t stick together.

  25. Made these and love them, but I’ve read this recipie 20 times and it never says when to add the vanilla , I added it to he wet mixture before bringing it to a boil , but not having it listed can be confusing.

    • Hi Sara! We contacted the original author of the recipe and here is what she had to say:

      “Add the vanilla after it is finished boiling otherwise the alcohol just boils away and it has no effect.”

      We have made the correction in our recipe. Thanks so much for the heads up!

  26. I hate coconut, so what should I add in place of it? Or can I just leave it out completely? Since it’s only 1/4 cup I’m hoping it won’t make much of a difference!

  27. Hi! Thank you so much for this recipe I am making them today because I am snowed in and bored haha can I leave out the coconut all together as I can’t get to store thank you!

    • Shanti are you back east? Sure hope you’re okay! You should be able to leave the coconut out and be just fine. Let us know how you like them!

Trackbacks

  1. Onion Bombs says:

    […] terrific camping recipes. We can’t wait to try the S’moreos! I’m glad that after my first guest post on MFP, they let me come back.  I tend to have a “once was more than enough” effect on […]

  2. […] I didn’t want to pay through the nose for some granola bars to take with us on a trip so I searched through my Pinterest to find a recipe I had everything for already.  This recipe fit the bill and I loved that it was a no-bake recipe.  It meant they were ready even faster.  They almost didn’t make it out of the pan because they were that good.  I love the ability to make a lot of different kind of granola bars without having to make lots of different batches.  I ended up making smores, chocolate chip, white chocolate cranberry, and butterscotch flavors and they all were awesome.  This recipe uses really basic ingredients that I always have on hand which means it will be a staple in my house.  The original creator gives lots of other mix in options and I would love to hear any other ideas you all have. No-Bake Granola Bars from Made From Pinterest […]

  3. […] I didn’t want to pay through the nose for some granola bars to take with us on a trip so I searched through my Pinterest to find a recipe I had everything for already.  This recipe fit the bill and I loved that it was a no-bake recipe.  It meant they were ready even faster.  They almost didn’t make it out of the pan because they were that good.  I love the ability to make a lot of different kind of granola bars without having to make lots of different batches.  I ended up making smores, chocolate chip, white chocolate cranberry, and butterscotch flavors and they all were awesome.  This recipe uses really basic ingredients that I always have on hand which means it will be a staple in my house.  The original creator gives lots of other mix in options and I would love to hear any other ideas you all have. No-Bake Granola Bars from Made From Pinterest […]

  4. […] make.  Calvin was getting really antsy by this point because he was dying for his turn.  I used this recipe because they were no bake and seemed super easy.  I just went by the basic recipe with butter and […]

  5. […] Granola Bars: Leave out the chocolate chips, cut back on some of the sugar in the recipe and substitute away. Here are a couple of recipes for granola bars, this one is baked, this one isn’t. […]

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