Granola Bars with a Molasses Twist!

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My family loves granola bars.  They are handy to grab, perfect for a lunch bag, a quick breakfast or as a midnight snack.  However, like many of you, I do worry about what is actually in store-bought granola bars.

Not too long ago, I checked out a few boxes from our cupboard and found that some bars contained as many as thirty-seven ingredients!  Included in some, but not all bars were such unpronounceable names as:

  • Sodium Carboxymethycellulose
  • Tocopherols
  • Acetylated Tartaric Acid Esters of Mono-and Diglycerides
  • Annatto Colour

I certainly don’t want my family eating these weird ingredients and I don’t want to be eating them either.

Because of this, a little more than a year ago, I set out on a mission to make my own, healthier version of granola bars.  I wanted something that could be customized to my family’s needs and wants.  I also wanted the option of switching up ingredients so we don’t tire of the same product day after day.  Plus, the bar had to be easy to make.

Does this sound like a tall order? Well, you’ll be happy to know it’s not!

I have a simple recipe. One that you can easily customize to meet your family’s wants and needs. In fact, this recipe for Granola Bars with a Molasses Twist is actually a customization on my regular recipe for Granola Bars. I switched up a few ingredients and substituted molasses for the honey or maple syrup.

I’m not going to lie, I was a bit worried when I saw the mixture in the bowl. It was much darker than I expected and I thought I may have ruined the whole batch.

The proof would be in the tasting! After I waited for the cooked bars to cool enough to cut, the first thing I did was taste them.

You wouldn’t think substituting molasses for the honey or maple syrup would make much of a difference, but it did! The resulting bar was not only much darker than the original, it had a deliciously sweet, almost smoky flavor that we all really loved!

If you would like to make these bars, you can check out the recipe below.

Granola Bars with a Molasses Twist

Gently heat the oil, molasses, salt, brown sugar and peanut butter, stirring until mixture is smooth and sugar is dissolved.

Granola Bars with a Molasses Twist

The dry ingredients, patiently waiting for the wet ingredients to become smooth and creamy!

Granola Bars with a Molasses Twist

Be sure to keep gently mixing until all ingredients are nicely combined.

Granola Bars with a Molasses Twist

Dump the mixture into your pan and spread using an offset spatula or the back of a large spoon. {Tip – If you lightly butter the spoon or offset spatula it will keep the mixture from sticking and make it easier to spread.

Granola Bars with a Molasses Twist

Out of the oven and cooling on a rack.

Granola Bars with a Molasses Twist

The deliciously addictive,  finished product!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Granola Bars with a Molasses Twist!
 
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • 2 cups oats, I used large flake {Packets of instant oats will NOT work}
  • ¾ cup nuts and/or seeds {I used of a mix of hemp hearts, natural pumpkin seeds (shelled), sunflower seed (shelled) and flax seeds to total ¾ cup}
  • You could also use: coconut; chopped pistachios, pine nuts, almonds, pecans, walnuts, peanuts, cashews}
  • 11/4 cups dried fruit (I used a combination of dried cranberries, dried pomegranate and currants to total 11/4 cups}
  • You could also use coarsely chopped; dried cherries, blueberries, apple, apricot, mango, fig, papaya, plum, pear, tomato or raisins.
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (You could substitute with semi-sweet, milk or white chocolate)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp.peanut butter (optional - If not using peanut butter add an additional 1½ Tbsp. vegetable oil.)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a 9" x 13" pan with parchment and lightly spray with cooking spray.
  3. Measure oil, molasses, salt, brown sugar and peanut butter into a small saucepan.
  4. Heat gently over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and sugar is dissolved. Add vanilla.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together the oatmeal, fruit, and seeds.
  6. Add the cooked liquid mixture to the oatmeal mixture and stir until the dry ingredients are well coated. It will take a few minutes for it to all come together. The mixture should be slightly sticky and begin to clump together. {Add more molasses if necessary.)
  7. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  8. Using an offset spatula or the back of a large spoon, press the mixture firmly into the prepared pan.
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are ever so lightly browned. Cool completely and then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 to 3 hours or overnight before cutting into 24 bars.
  10. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freeze.

When chilled, this is a firm but not crunchy bar.  If packaged up for a lunchbox, and not kept chilled, the bar will be a bit softer, but will still taste yummy!

I really like the ability to control the ingredients and the option to customize them. This recipe, using molasses was sweet but not overly so and the taste of the dark chocolate really comes through.

I really hope you try these granola bars, but I must offer a warning – these bars are totally addictive…lol.

Have you ever had homemade granola bars?

If so, did you and your family like them?

 

 

Comments

  1. Although we no longer have lunches to pack ( and I admit, that does please me) my hubby and I are trying to eat healthier…. but still need snack food. This looks like a win-win situation to me…. healthier AND more cost effective. What’s not to love about that! Thanks for being the “trial tester” for me!

  2. These are totally addictive Pat, I think you would love them!
    Monica Parlee recently posted…How to Make Blueberry PieMy Profile

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