Cinnamon granola bars are a perfect vehicle for all your fave snacking ingredients. Almonds, oats, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, plus nearly anything else you desire. Healthy or a little indulgent? Up to you.
These nutritious cinnamon granola bars travel well and are great either as part of breakfast or as an easy, portable snack throughout the day. Feel free to experiment or make it into crumbled granola that’s great with yogurt or milk. [Editor’s Note: You gotta try the crumbled granola. Take a gander at the variation beneath the recipe.]–Kelli Bronski | Peter Bronski
WHY ISN’T MY HOMEMADE GRANOLA CRUNCHY?
One of the biggest stumbling blocks to homemade granola is getting the texture right. Baking your ingredients at a too high temperature will cause everything to burn before it gets a chance to dry out and crisp up. The ideal temperature is between 300°F and 350°F (150°C and 175°C), giving you golden bits that will stick together and stay crunchy. Stick with a low temperature, keep an eye on your mixture, and stir it from time to time to help it brown evenly.
Cinnamon Granola Bars
- 3/4 cup raw almonds
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup raw pepitas hulled pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup whole golden flaxseeds coarsely ground (optional)
- 1 to 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 3/4 cup honey or light or amber agave nectar honey will help the bars hold together better
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for the baking sheet
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chopped dried fruit optional
- 1/2 cup chopped chocolate optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Oil a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-centimeter) baking pan.
- Place the blanched almonds in a resealable plastic bag and use a rolling pin or the bottom of a heavy skillet to crush the almonds into small pieces.
- Combine the crushed almonds, oats, pepitas, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, if using, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in a large bowl. Drizzle on the agave nectar, 1/3 cup olive oil, and vanilla extract and mix until evenly incorporated. If the mixture feels dry, add the remaining olive oil. Spread the mixture in the prepared baking pan, pressing it firmly with a spatula. Bake for 15 minutes.
- Stir the granola, toss in the dried fruit and/or chocolate, if using, and once again press the mixture firmly into the pan. Turn the oven down to 300°F (150°C) and bake for 25 more minutes, until the top is golden.
- Let the granola cool completely, about 2 hours. Cut into 12 rectangles with a serrated knife. The bars may be fairly crumbly so handle them gently. Store the bars in an airtight container, separated by parchment paper, for up to 1 week at room temperature or up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Cinnamon Granola variationPrefer crumbly chunks of granola you can dump in a bowl or grab by the handful to a linear bar? Just follow the recipe above with a few tweaks. Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C) and line a couple rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread the granola mixture (minus the dried fruit and chocolate) on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes. Stir thoroughly and bake for 15 minutes more, until golden brown. Let cool completely. Crumble to form whatever size granola chunks you desire and add dried fruit and/or chocolate, if using. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. You should have 5 to 6 cups.
Chocolate-Dipped Granola Bars variationWe love kitchen ingenuity. For example, one of our recipe testers made a batch of these granola bars for her kids, but two out of three refused to eat them because the mini chocolate chips had melted into nothingness. The enterprising mom nonchalantly melted some chocolate, dipped the bottoms of the cooled bars in the chocolatey goodness, and waited for them to set. Problem solved. As she noted, “What isn’t made better by a little more chocolate?” Keep calm and dip away.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
These cinnamon granola bars are so good! Don’t even think about decreasing the amount of cinnamon. 2 teaspoons seems like a lot, and it is, but the flavor's not overwhelming. You’ll still be able to taste all those yummy grains, dried berries, and nuts, not to mention the ginger and nutmeg.
However, the bars didn’t stay together too well for me. Maybe I didn’t press down enough? No matter, I just crumbled the bars and ate the result like granola. I was pleasantly surprised to find that a small bowl kept me quite satisfied, and that’s saying something. Usually I’m reaching for a snack an hour or two after breakfast. Not so here!
I made the cinnamon granola bars, not the crumbled granola variation. It was an easy, straightforward recipe that my whole family enjoyed. I can't speak to whether or not the granola bars would last 2 weeks—mine were gone in a couple of days.
I used the recommended blanched almonds. I couldn't find raw pepitas or sunflower seeds, so I used roasted ones. I also couldn't find golden flaxseeds, so I used the only ones my store sold. I opted to add dried cranberries and mini chocolate chips. One of my three children loved the granola bars, but the other two were disappointed that the mini chocolate chips had melted into the bars. I ended up melting additional chocolate chips, coating the bottom of the bars, and letting them set on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. That converted my other two into fans. (What isn't made better by a little more chocolate?) I enjoyed the bars both ways, but when I make them again, I will dip them in chocolate.
Originally published on April 16, 2015