I may have mentioned that I came home from my local co-op with 30 cups of rolled oats earlier this week. I used about 1/3 of them on my quadruple batch of Banana-Nut Granola, but that still left me with a lot of oats.
I'm not a fan of oatmeal, so I had to figure out something to do with them. I vaguely remembered a post on TheKitchn explaining how to make homemade granola bars, so I thought, why not? The post, written by TheKitchn's recipe editor, Emma Christiansen, provides a template for making homemade granola bars, as well as a few fun recipe suggestions. I made her Cherry-Almond Dark Chocolate bars and Chocolate Chip Peanut bars and wrapped them up and sent them over to my niece who just started 4th grade as snacks for during or after the school day. Then I started brainstorming. I decided I would create Mocha Coconut Granola Bars and White Chocolate Apple Pie Granola bars!
Both of these bars come from pretty simple ingredients but pack in lots of flavor - and - are really simple to make.
You start with your oats and puffed rice cereal (I used Nature's Path Puffed Brown Rice), then add any 'extras' to your dry mix - like flaked coconut, chocolate chips, dried apples, or spices.
Then you add brown rice syrup (which gives you the perfect consistency bars that don't fall apart). I added instant espresso and coconut extract to the rice syrup for the Mocha Coconut bars.
Mix it altogether, then press it into a parchment lined baking dish.
Then you just bake them, let them cool, and viola, super yummy homemade granola bars.
You can even wrap your individual bars in parchment and tie off with baker's twine for a pretty, grab-and-go snack.
My only other piece of advice - take it easy in the bulk section - no one needs 30 cups of rolled oats.
MOCHA COCONUT GRANOLA BARS
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal
4 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup flaked coconut
2 t coconut extract
2-3 T instant espresso powder
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
WHITE CHOCOLATE APPLE PIE GRANOLA BARS
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup puffed rice cereal
1/2 cup dried apples, diced into small chunks
4 oz white chocolate, chopped
1 T cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1/4 pumpkin seeds (to press on top of bars)
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine your dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Stir together wet ingredients in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup (for the Mocha Coconut bars). Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir together well, until your granola mix starts to clump together.
Pour your mix into a baking dish (I used a 9x9 square and an 8.5 x 10 rectangular dish) lined with parchment paper that hangs over the edges (so you can easily lift your bars out of the pan when they are cooled.) Then use a square of parchment paper to press down and compact your granola bars by hand.
For the Apple Pie bars, press your pumpkin seeds onto the top of your bars now.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes for chewier bars or 25-30 minutes for crunchier bars.
Allow to cool completely, lift out of baking dish and cut into 10-12 bars. Store in an airtight container.