Granola bars that aren’t really all that healthy are one of my favourite things. In highschool I ate so many chocolate-covered granola bars that I started having a Pavlovian-type response to the end-of-day bell; it rang, I craved a chocolate granola bar. There is something so wonderfully sneaky about those chocolate-covered granola bars: because you know there are oats in there, you can completely avoid the guilt that comes with chowing down on a regular old chocolate bar.
This homemade version is kind of like that – it has a lot of healthy stuff involved, but also a fair share of unhealthy ingredients. Good thing all the healthy things remove any potential guilt, not to mention the fact that homemade is BOUND to be healthier because you aren’t using chemicals (right?).
Pop quiz: What is gooey and chewy and deliciously salty-sweet and still totally healthy?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s the truth. These just aren’t going to taste as perfect without the corn syrup.
But these chewy granola bars are DEFINITELY worth making. They are not the kind of granola bar you want to take hiking, because their chewy gooey-ness makes them slightly fall-apart-y. Clearly this is a post full of my best vocabulary. It’s hard to find words to properly describe the sweet, salty, chewy, oat-y goodness of these bars – I suppose that’s why I never made it as a food critic.
I’ve made these with any number of ingredient combinations depending what’s around, and they always turn out delicious, so feel free to throw in your favourite dried fruit, nuts and seeds to up the health factor to your desired level, but don’t skip that corn syrup even if it is the devil in liquid sugar disguise. It is yuummmmmmmy, and makes everything stick together (yes, you can use honey, but please don’t tell me about it).
If you need them gluten free, just make sure you have gluten-free oats and don’t throw in the wheat germ- I often use ground flax seeds instead.
- Chewy Gooey Peanut Butter Granola Bars
- ½ cup butter or margarine, melted
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- ⅔ cup peanut butter
- ½ cup corn syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 3 cups quick cooking oats
- ⅓ cup wheat germ or ground flax seed
- Options (Use all, some or none):
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds, chia seeds, or sunflower seeds
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- ½ cup raisins or dried cranberries
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut
- ½ cup chopped nuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13" pan.
- In large bowl, stir or whisk melted butter, brown sugar, peanut butter, corn syrup, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in oats and wheat germ.
- Fold in any other options you have chosen. Press evenly into prepared pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned on the edges. Cool completely before cutting into bars or squares.