Granola bars: Making your own

Granola (Provided photo — Yvona Fast)

A while ago I wrote about making your own granola. You can also make yummy granola bars with just a few simple ingredients, like oats and maple syrup.

Boxed granola bars can be overly sweet and loaded with calories. Homemade ones are healthier. Use less sugar and less fat. Nuts, sunflower seeds or peanut butter provide protein; you can add wheat germ or protein powder for an additional protein boost.

Pumpkin or applesauce can help you cut down on the saturated fat and add extra fiber. Use old-fashioned rolled oats and whole-wheat flour. You don’t have to be an expert baker — and this can be a nice project to do with kids. Recipes abound — and most are easy to prepare.

They’re great, low-sugar, kid-friendly snacks — and there are many ways to make them. For a gluten-free version, use only oats and oat flour. There are no-bake varieties too.

Your basic ingredients are oats, some type of oil or nut butter, some type of sweetener (maple syrup, honey or brown sugar). For extra nutrition, add ground flax, chia, or wheat germ.

No Bake Granola Protein Balls (Provided photo — Yvona Fast)

There are no-bake versions and baked versions. My attempt at a baked granola bar did not turn out — they fell apart and did not hold together. No-bake versions are held together with dates or nut butters and refrigerated.

Begin by mixing your dry ingredients: Oats, flour (oat or whole-wheat), baking soda. Then add the liquids: Maple syrup or honey and butter. A little salt, spices like cinnamon or vanilla. Then you can add nuts and dried fruit of your choice, coconut or chocolate chips. There are so many variations — use your imagination as you combine ingredients.

Here’s where you get creative. Use any liquid sweetener — my favorite is maple syrup, but you can use honey, agave or rice syrup. Use your favorite nut butter. Add a little dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips — whatever you like! If you wish, you can toast your oats and nuts until fragrant and golden (about 10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit). The possibilities are endless.

Fruit and Nut Granola Bars


1/3 cup whole-wheat flour

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

8 Tablespoons butter

1/3 cup maple syrup or honey plus 1 Tablespoon water or juice

2 Tablespoons flaxseed meal

2 Tablespoons chia seeds

Up to 1 cup additions: Dried or frozen fruit, nuts of your choice, grains like quinoa or buckwheat (uncooked) — I used 1/3 cup walnuts, 1/4 cup raisins, 1/4 cup red currants and 1/4 cup blueberries.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil or butter a 9-inch-by-13-inch pan.

In bottom of large bowl, mix together flours, baking soda and salt. Stir in oats.

Melt the butter.

In small bowl, combine maple syrup, flax and chia. Stir into the dry ingredients along with the melted butter.

Stir in the additions.

Spread into prepared pan, place in preheated oven, and bake 20 minutes.

Let cool, cut into squares and serve.

No Bake Fruit and Nut Granola Bars


1 cup pitted dates

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup nut butter (I used peanut butter)

1 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup additions: Chopped nuts or chopped dried fruit (like walnuts, pecans, almonds, craisins, etc.)


Cook dates in water about 10 or 15 minutes. Drain and cool. Chop in food processor.

Optional: Toast oats and nuts by spreading on a cookie sheet and baking at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, until golden and fragrant.

Stir together chopped, cooked dates, toasted oats and nuts, and peanut butter.

Stir in mix-ins. I used pecans, chopped dried apricots, and red currants.

Line a 9-inch-by-9-inch pan with parchment.

Press mixture firmly into pan. The tighter you press the bars, the better they will hold together. Cover tightly and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Cut into squares and serve.

No Bake Granola Protein Balls


1/3 cup nut butter (like peanut or almond)

1/4 cup maple syrup, honey, agave, rice syrup, or another liquid sweetener

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, or almonds)


Combine everything together in a bowl. Let it sit for about half an hour. Roll into bite size balls. Place on parchment or wax paper and refrigerate. Remove from fridge 10-15 minutes before serving.

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Author of the award-winning cookbook “Garden Gourmet: Fresh & Fabulous Meals from your Garden, CSA or Farmers’ Market,” Yvona Fast lives in Lake Clear and has two passions: Writing and cooking. She can be found at www.yvonafast.com and reached at yvonawrite@yahoo.com or on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter: @yvonawrites.


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