Great granola bars put the flavor of the oats at the forefront while supporting players back them up with a mellow sweetness.
We found that toasting the oats with a little oil and salt really deepened their flavor. Honey provided stickiness to hold the bars together.
After many baking attempts resulted in a crumbly mess, we realized the key to granola bars that held their shape was to spread the mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet and then firmly press on it with a greased metal spatula.
A few more tips:
>> Do not substitute quick or instant oats in this recipe.
>> Don’t use a baking sheet smaller than 18-by-13-inches or the bars won’t bake evenly.
>> Be sure to let the granola bars cool for 15 minutes before cutting.
>> If any bars fall apart during cutting, just press them back together; as they cool they will stick together.
CRUNCHY GRANOLA BARS
By America’s Test Kitchen
- 7 cups (21 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup honey
- 3/4 cup packed (5-1/4 ounces) light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (optional)
- 1-1/2 cups almonds, pecans, peanuts or walnuts, coarsely chopped
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.
Toss oats, oil and salt together in medium bowl. Spread mixture over rimmed baking sheet and toast, stirring often, until pale golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, line 18-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheet with foil and grease foil.
Cook honey and sugar in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is fully dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and cinnamon, if using.
Transfer toasted oat mixture to large bowl. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.
Add honey mixture and nuts to oat mixture and toss until well combined. Transfer mixture to prepared baking sheet and press firmly into even layer with greased metal spatula. Bake bars until golden, 35 to 40 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through.
Let bars cool completely in sheet on wire rack for 15 minutes, then cut into 36 pieces.
Let cool completely, then remove individual bars from sheet with spatula. Bars can be stored at room temperature up to 2 weeks. Makes 36 bars.
Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 161 calories, 7 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, no cholesterol, 34 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 11 g sugar, 3 g protein.
For recipes, cooking videos and product reviews go to americastestkitchen.com. These recipes are from “The Perfect Cookie” and “All-Time Best Brunch .”