Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

I’ve been making these for so long now that my kids kind of take them for granted. Fortunately they have really sweet little friends who, when they come over after school and eat these, say things like “This is the best granola bar I’ve ever had!” I’ll take my compliments where I can get them.

This is a really easy recipe. I make a batch on auto-pilot every Sunday evening, and it yields enough for my two kids to take them to school every day, plus after-school snackage and a few extra for me.

The cool thing about this recipe is that, like granola, you can substitute ingredients at will, so long as the ratio of dry ingredients to wet stays pretty much the same. Though I once suggested to my kids that these would be awesome with chopped dates instead of chocolate chips — for a second I thought they were going to stage a revolution in the kitchen.

With the cooking time I’ve provided, these yield a crunchy bar. I’ve been thinking of experimenting with reducing the cooking time by five minutes or so to see if I can get a chewier bar that will still maintain its structural integrity in the lunchbox. If you try this, let me know how it goes.

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Modified from this recipe. Yields 20-24 bars, depending on how you slice them.

IMPORTANT: Make sure that you really compress the mixture in the baking pan. I once made the mistake of shirking somewhat, and the bars ended up being quite breakable.

ALSO IMPORTANT: Don’t wait too long to slice these. You need to wait at least 10 minutes, and I’d say you’re good for anywhere up to 30 minutes or so. After that, they’ve pretty much totally cooled and tend to be brittle and break-y when you try to cut them.

INGREDIENTS

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (or other rolled grains, such as barley)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (or ground flax, wheat germ, etc.)
1/2 cup shredded coconut*
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup light oil, such as grapeseed or canola
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract

*About coconut: Any time I bake, I use sweetened or unsweetened, whatever I have at hand. I don’t fret about what kind the recipe calls for, and to be frank, I’ve never noticed that it makes that much of a difference. If you’d like, you can always slightly adjust the amount of honey up or down, depending on what type of coconut you’re using.

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9″ x 13″ rectangular baking pan with parchment.
  2. Place the oats, flour, coconut, brown sugar, cinnamon, chocolate chips, and salt in a large bowl, and toss with a spatula until combined.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the oil, vanilla, and honey until smooth and combined. Pour this all over the dry ingredients, and thoroughly mix all the ingredients together until the wet ingredients have evenly coated all of the oats.
  4. Pour the granola mixture into the parchment-lined baking pan and compress it with a flat spatula until it’s about 1″ thick.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes, until golden. Cool for at least 10 minutes, then use a sharp knife to cut into bars.

Storing:

I’ve never had a batch last longer than five or six days, but I reckon they’re probably good for at least a couple of weeks if they’re stored in an airtight container.

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