Making granola bars is easier than making cookies. There's no butter and sugar to cream, so there's no need for a mixer or bringing butter and eggs to room temperature.
Homemade granola bars have no additives, no preservatives, no artificial flavors or colors and no unpronounceable ingredients -- just whole grain oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruit.
They're a guilty pleasure without a lot of guilt because you control the sugar. They're also easy to grab when you're on the go because they hold their shape.
Steel-cut oatmeal in the cinnamon and berry granola bars creates a sturdy bar that crumbles in the mouth into smaller pieces that deliver a satisfying chew. The sugar takes a back seat to the toasted flavor of the oatmeal.
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The apricot, pistachio and almond flapjacks are also light on the sugar and hard in texture. The bars are dry-tasting with bits of hard apricots that provide a nice tart finish to the mellow flavor of old-fashioned oatmeal.
The granola bars from "America's Text Kitchen" are made with old-fashioned oatmeal, some of which is ground into a flour. These bars are sweet -- almost dessert-like -- and melt in your mouth. Replace olive oil with butter for a distinctive taste that's hard to beat.
The granola rounds are the sweetest of the bunch. Quick-cook oatmeal gives them a soft and chewy texture, and the added egg ensures they hold their shape and don't crumble.
All three recipes can be customized to suit your taste: Use different types of oats, vary the amount of nuts and seeds and dried fruit, add cinnamon. Change up the sugar and the shortening; corn syrup will produce a sturdier bar and butter adds an unmistakable flavor. You can even try a combination of corn syrup and marshmallows. Use dried dates for added sweetness.
Don't skimp on the nuts and seeds, though. They give the granola bars an added layer of flavor.