My kids love granola bars; in fact, my six-year-old daughter is obsessed. She seems to want a snack in a foil wrapper at every meal. I’m tired of the junk food battle, and I decided to do something about it. I have been experimenting with different homemade granola bar recipes and came up with this version. I feel good about serving this to my kids knowing that it is made with real ingredients and is not filled with additives and chemicals. I think these granola bars taste better than any packaged ones I’ve ever had. My six-year-old said to tell you that she really likes these granola bars. Now if only I had a machine to wrap these in shiny foil paper.
My 10-year-old daughter got really excited about creating a granola bar recipe, and she collaborated with me. It was her idea to make each bar in the shape of a heart using a cookie cutter. The bars also can be made in the shape of a circle using muffin tins. We were inspired by recipes from fellow food bloggers at Cookin’ Canuck and Snack Girl. The variations are endless, so feel free to play around with the recipe and adjust to your preference.
Use a cookie cutter as a mold to shape the granola bars:
|Homemade Chewy Granola Bar Hearts||
- 2-1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
- 1 cup cereal, like crispy rice or similar
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seed meal
- ½ cup salted pistachios, chopped (or pecans)
- 10 dates, pitted and chopped (or ½ cup raisins or cranberries)
- ½ cup loosely packed sweetened flaked coconut
- ¼ cup (heaping) mini chocolate chips
- 3 mashed large bananas (about 1-1/2 cups)
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened creamy peanut butter at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 teaspoons maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with a rack in the middle of the oven.
- In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients: oats, cereal, flax seed meal, nuts, dried fruit, coconut, and chocolate chips. Set aside.
- In a small bowl combine the wet ingredients: banana, peanut butter, vanilla, and maple syrup.
- Pour the wet ingredients on top of the dry ingredients, and stir to combine well. There should be just enough wet ingredients to cover the dry ones.
- Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter as a mold to form the granola hearts. Our cookie cutter is about 2-1/2 inches across at the widest point. Place the mold on the baking sheet. Press the batter into the mold with a medium amount of pressure, making sure you do not have large air pockets in the batter. Fill the mold ⅝ to ¾ of an inch high. Lift up the cookie cutter and simultaneously poke the granola down to release the mold and use it to shape more granola bar hearts.
- When the baking sheet is full, bake for 10-12 minutes until the granola is a little brown on the bottom and any coconut on the top is golden brown. Cool on a rack.
- If you use a larger heart cookie cutter (3 inches across and almost 1 inch high), then the cooking time is 12-15 minutes with a smaller yield.