Crunchy Maple Brown Sugar Granola Bars

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Crunchy Maple Brown Sugar Granola Bars

As hectic schedules grow only more crazed thanks to the beginning of the new school year, it’s a challenge just to find time to squeeze in three square meals, let alone healthful snacks. There’s no need, however, to slow down when you have wholesome, lightly sweetened, and completely customized granola bars in your pantry. Whether you like them crunchy or chewy, chocolaty or fruity, there are endless flavor options for both. Perfect for busy kids and adults alike, this easy and satisfying staple is always good to have on hand.

  • 8 to 12 bars ServingsServings

Ingredients

  • 1½ cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • ¼ cup sliced or slivered almonds
  • 3 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugarm firmly packed
  • 6 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1½ tablespoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Preparation

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking pan.
  2. Place oats in a food processor, and pulse them just briefly to break them down a bit; three 1-second pulses should do the trick. Transfer oats to a large bowl along with almonds and flour. Stir to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together brown sugar, oil, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt until smooth. Add these liquid ingredients into the bowl of dry; and stir well.
  4. Pour the mixture into your prepared pan, and firmly and evenly pack it down.* Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until the entire top is amber.
  5. Score into bars immediately after removing the pan from the oven, and let cool. To reduce crumbling, wait until the granola bars have reached room temperature before you cut them.

Quick Tip: To quickly and easily pack the granola bar mixture into the pan, lightly grease the bottom of a measuring cup. Use it to smooth and press the mixture firmly into place.

VARIATIONS:
Tropical: Add 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, and swap out the sliced almonds for an equal measure of finely chopped dried pineapple. Eliminate the cinnamon and add 1 teaspoon orange zest.

Double Chocolate: Replace 1/4 cup of the oats wth 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder. Mix in 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate.

Gingersnap: Add 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and a pinch of ground cloves; increase the cinnamon to 1 teaspoon. Swap out 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup for molasses. Add 1/4 - 1/3 cup finely diced crystallized ginger, if desired.