The Easiest Granola Bars Ever

Feb 2015 004

I don’t know if it’s just me, but my kids seem to eat non-stop.  I can’t seem to understand how 3 little people can eat so much.  My husband says I’m a grazer and they get it from me.  Whatever the cause they MUST have 3 meals and 2 snacks EVERYDAY without fail.  What does this mean? To keep them and me from getting cranky, we must have snacks readily available.  Enter my favorite granola bars.

I LOVE these granola bars because they are the easiest ones I’ve ever made! You pretty much dump everything into a bowl, stir, and bake.  Well, there’s a little more, but not much.  I don’t know who Aliceyn Fukuhl is, but I found this recipe years ago and would LOVE to thank her because I can’t count how many times I’ve made these granola bars.  They have been a permanent fixture in the Hill House for almost as long as we’ve had children.  I’ve made at least a dozen different variations of her original recipe.  They are great to take for play dates, class snacks, team snacks, you name it! When people taste these, they usually ask for the recipe.  It’s great knowing you have complete control over what’s going into a snack and that it doesn’t take a lot of time to have something homemade.

Another reason we LOVE this recipe is because it is really versatile.  I have used almonds, peanuts, cashews, and pecans and they all work well.  I have also omitted nuts completely in other versions, or substituted them with sunflower or pumpkin seeds. The sky is the limit. They key is just to keep the proportions the same.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1- 14oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted (lately I’ve been using coconut oil)
  • 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup sliced almonds (or whatever nuts you like)
  • 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a 15 x 10 inch pan with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, mix together the oats, sweetened condensed milk, oil, coconut, almonds, chocolate chips and cranberries until well blended.  Pour onto the prepared pan and press flat. (For this step I use a sheet of waxed paper to press the mixture into the pan because it’s pretty sticky and this avoids a lot of mess.  This is particularly important if you’re like me and have lots of little helpers.)
Feb 2015 001
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes depending on the desired crunchiness.  The less time in the oven the chewier (Is that a word?) the bars.  Let cool for 5 minutes, cut into squares, and let cool completely before serving.
Note:  In a pinch I have made these with honey instead of condensed milk.  They are pretty sweet, but still tasty.  I would simply cut the bars a little smaller.
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