Friday, April 15, 2011

Homemade Granola Bars!

Happy 10,000 page views to my little blog! 
Oh hi there!

I swear, I've been meaning to do this post for about 6 months now (has it been that long? wow). I can't believe that I hit 10,000 page views this past week. Seems like the time is flying by (probably because I don't see much time outside of my audit room right now, but still).

Ten thousand might seem small to some bloggers out there, but to me, this milestone was huge! That's a lot of people who have seen my writing and the food that I put on the table. The little sixth grader in me that loved to read books and write stories thinks this is insane! Ten thousand!

My apologies, sometimes I get off track (and if you're not new here, you already know that).

This recipe is my lifeblood during busy times. No word of a lie, one square of these granola bars will fill you up for 3 hours. They are delicious, full of fibre and protein and they can really be any flavour you want (because you're the boss!).

This time around (because I make them every 2 weeks) I did a little science experiment; I took my standard backup granola bars ($2.99 for 175g) and used them as a baseline. Then, I weighed my bowl on a fancy scale my dad has for making beer (I was at home last weekend) before I added the ingredients. I weighed the bowl after adding all of the ingredients and determined the following:

  • My granola bars weighed 1.2 kg 
  • The total estimated cost of the ingredients was about $8.50
  • That makes the cost about $0.007 per gram 
  • The store-bought granola bars cost $0.017 per gram 
  • That's a savings of almost 60%
I honestly didn't expect it to be that big, but it really is (it was a scientific experiment after all). AND you can customize these babies to have whatever you want in them, it's a win-win-win.
My folks' kitchen has the world's best lighting and tons of counter space. Such a luxury when I get to play with it.

The original recipe is from Nigella Lawson's Nigella Express, but I've tweaked it far enough that we'll just call it a hybrid. (Although, just in case, someday, in a distant universe, Nigella Lawson reads this, I will give her 100% of the credit. Because she's amazing.)

The chocolate is really not necessary. But sometimes it's nice to have a treat. 

Granola Bars^2 (squared because they're squares and because they're extra awesome).

  • 3 1/2 cups of steel cut oats (ish) (note: I usually use steel-cut, but my parents only had quick, just in case you saw the picture above and wanted to be picky)
  • 2-3 cups of trail mix 
  • 1-2 cups of extras (I use dried cranberries, extra peanuts and sometimes pecans) 
  • 1 can of condensed milk (plus a little if you've added too much stuff)
  • 2-3 tbs of all natural peanut butter
  • cinnamon (if you want)
  • chocolate chips for melting (if you want) - I would say try them without first, that way it's a treat.

Some other ideas for "stuff" - raisins, cashews, dried cherries, coconut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds (with pumpkin pie spice, carrots and raisins maybe), no trail mix and only peanuts... anything you want!

This recipe could not be simpler:

Preheat the oven to 260 degrees and line a lasagne or deep cookie tin with parchment paper.

So. Much. Stuff. 
Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl (not the chocolate or anything that can melt though). Microwave the condensed milk in a glass measuring cup or heatproof bowl until it is a little runnier. Mix the peanut butter into the milk and then pour it over the dry ingredients. Mix together and smoosh into the pan evenly (technical term). Sprinkle cinnamon on top if you so desire.


Bake for 60 minutes and cool in the pan before cutting.

These will keep for about two weeks on the counter in sealed bags (but they never last that long anyway)

A note about the measurements - because the ingredients that you have and are using could be different than what I like, they're approximations. The batter should look and feel like a good cookie dough. Lots of goo, but still holds up when you shape it. That's the best description I can give you. If it's too wet, add more stuff (yay!) if it's too dry and you don't have any more condensed milk, add some regular peanut butter. (Regular peanut butter is better in this case because it has added shortening, which will soften the bars, but all natural will still work).

Seriously, they're that easy, cheap and delicious.

Disclaimer: These granola bars were not tested on animals. They were tested on hungry accountants and have been proven to ease irritability and increase productivity. These claims however, are mostly unsubstantiated. (Just because I'm full, doesn't mean I work harder).

Signing off,



  1. Hi Amanda, I stopped by to visit your blog and say thanks for the FB add. I love your FB profile photo. Where's that statue? And congratulations on your 10,000 views! I hopr to someday get there, too. I write a blog on Food and Relationships often told through stories. Please visit. Maybe follow, if you like. That would be cool. Again, thanks

  2. I think I need to start making these granola bars - cost effective and good tasting, got my vote!