Snacks in our house are LIFE. They keep my kids from having to ask me for something to eat approximately 64 times a day. If we have a solid snack ration, they only ask me 27 times 😉
Snacks brought trouble for the middle child. Being home all day meant he would burn through snacks, like a box of granola bars, in no time at all. The bigger issue though was the wrappers. ALL OVER THE HOUSE. I can’t tell you how many times he had his “snack privileges” revoked. I do realize I could remedy this by not buying them anymore, but I ate those delicious little suckers too, you know?!
Thanks to a few trial and errors, we found a great granola bar base recipe! Even better, they were a huge hit with the kids, and we’ve yet to go back to store bought!
Completely customizable. A short list of ingredients I can pronounce and feel good about. Less waste. SO DELICIOUS.
Reid’s favorite of course involves mini chocolate chips and peanut butter. But I always go for the zesty flavors! Using essential oils in recipes like this is perfect. You might even turn a nay sayer of lemon into a lover. Since essential oils are made from the rind of the fruit and not the juice, they aren’t acidic. It helps give it, in my opinion, a much mellower flavor. The usual complaint in our house is that lemon is overpowering. I won’t name the person who feels this way. (hint: it’s not myself or the kids) This also remedies any issue of consistency since you aren’t adding any extra liquid.
1/3 cup sugar (I prefer coconut, simply for the taste)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 tsp vanilla extract
The rest is up to you! Swap out the vanilla extract for another flavor, use any combo of dried fruit and nuts, or maybe you’re strictly a chocolate and granola lover!
For my version, I used around 20 drops of Lemon essential oil and 1/2 cup dried blueberries.
1. Preheat oven to 375. Add your rolled oats to an 8×8 square baking pan. Toast in oven for approx 8-10. I like to pull out and mix up every few minutes.
2. While your oats are toasting, make your topping. To a small saucepan, add sugar, honey and butter. Cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and butter is melted. When mixture is ready, remove from heat and add salt and vanilla (if using).
3. Once your oats are done, pour them into a bowl to cool, along with your pan. I use this same pan to put the finished product in. One less pan to wash! When the pan is cool enough to handle, line with parchment paper or foil.
4. To your slightly cool oats, add your sugar mixture. Make sure to evenly coat everything in your bowl. If you aren’t using mix-ins like chocolate, add these in at this point.
*For chocolate, wait 10-15 minutes before adding to oats.
5. Scoop into your prepared pan and press down evenly. I like to use the 8×8 since it makes for a thicker bar.
Chill for two hours. If you can wait! It’s common for us to only make it 45 minutes before we dig in. Slice your bars into whatever shape/sizing of your choosing. You can get 8 bars if sliced long, and for the kids I cut them shorter, making 12 in a batch.
They keep best if chilled. I slice up my parchment paper from the pan and use it to separate each bar in a container.
Now, we just open the fridge and pull out a bar. Easy peasy, LEMON squeezy. Let’s see what fun combinations you come up with!