Granola Bars

I've been making an awful lot of these lately, and have been refining the directions as I give the recipe to people. Just now I sent it to a buddy of mine who isn't much of a cook/baker - so below are probably the best directions yet.

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries, raisins, anything dried)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts & seeds (any combination - hazelnuts, walnuts,
    flax seed, sesame seed, sunflower seed, etc)
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or oil)
  • 1 grated apple
  • 1 crushed very ripe banana
  • one beaten egg

The 1/2 cup of fruit and of nuts is measured after being chopped/crushed. But there is no need to be too exact as this is a very flexible recipe.

I've been making these for about 20 years now, and when I used to go back woods camping I would basically just take these for food and live off them for several days.

There are 2 ways to make them. I did it by hand for years before I started using my new mini-chopper. It's a Kitchen Aid model that I got at the superstore for 40 bucks. I also use my Kitchen Aid mixer these days to mix it. But I've done it for 15 years by hand. Here are both methods.

By Hand:

Melt the butter and honey together, either in a small pot on the stove, or 30 or 40 seconds in the microwave.
Mash the overripe banana and mix into the honey/butter.
Core, then grate the apple and mix in as well
Beat the egg and mix in

If using larger dried fruit (cranberry, dates, etc), chop to the size of small raisins.
If using larger nuts, chop well. Pestle and mortar works well. Or crush with the side of a large knife. Or just buy it pre-crushed.

Mix all the ingredients together in a big container. See below for baking instructions.

By Machine:

Put the egg, butter and honey into the mini-chopper and buzz til well combined.
Add the banana and buzz til the banana is all chopped up
Add the cored apple and buzz til it is all chopped up evenly.
Remove this mush and put it into another container

Put the fruit and nuts into the mini chopper, and add back about 1/3 to 1/2 of the mush. Buzz until everything is chopped well, and nice and pastey.

Put all ingredients into your mixer, and combine well.

Baking :

I used to bake this in a 9x9" brownie pan, but have since switched to making them thinner in a 9x13" cookie sheet. Grease the pan well with butter, then spread evenly and press in firmly into the pan.

Pre-heat oven to 350F and bake 20 minutes if using the 9x13 pan, or 25 with the 9x9 pan.

Allow to cool, then cut up.

This is an extremely flexible recipe, and should be considered a "rough guide" rather than a hard-and-fast recipe. I've replaced the apple with grated zucchini and it's turned out fantastic. You could use just about any kind of fruit : apple, pear, (pitted) peach, whatever. I've also added grated carrots instead of apple and it's worked out really well too (though changes it to more of a carrot cake).

I normally make a double sized batch, and use a mixture of nuts and seeds, as well as a mixture of dried fruit. But just one fruit and one nut/seed works well too.


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no time to grate

Can I just use jarred baby food (like I do with my carrot cake recipe) instead of grating apple or zucchini?


sure, why not? But you dont' have to grate them either - just toss them into the food processor. A lot cheaper.


Hi there, I was wondering if I can substitute the butter in this recipe for applesauce or peanut butter.

I've used peanutbutter

I've used peanut butter in this recipe but not in place of the butter - though I think it could work. This recipe is extremely flexible. I would still want to include some kind of oil - normally I actually use olive oil.

Butter substitute

This is the second time I have heard of applesauce being used as a butter substitute in recipes. This interests me... not because I am avoiding butter, but because I find it fascinating that butter, which is essentially an oily fat in recipes, can be replaced by applesauce, which doesn't seem to have any oil properties. But I have had muffins made with applesauce, and I like them better... always having found muffins to be the consistency of oily cake otherwise.

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