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Recently I have been on a baking streak, as my housemate can attest to – “You’re baking like a mad woman!” It’s fall and my cupboards (and fridge and freezer) are bursting with pumpkin, apple, cinnamon, and chai treats. After weeks of baking cakes, breads, and cookies, I knew I needed a change. That’s when I found this granola bar recipe from one of my favorite food blogs.

These bars are so versatile – you can pretty much add whatever you want to them! I scoured my cupboards and decided on four of my favorite ingredients: walnuts, golden raisins, dark chocolate chunks, and coconut flakes. Of course, if you had less of a sweet tooth than I do, you could load up on the dried fruits and nuts – that’s the beauty of these granola bars. Personally, I loved the taste of these bars. The peanut butter and dark chocolate gave them a rich, satisfying taste, although the amount of white sugar that I added was less than you would find in the average granola bar. I did have some crumbling issues with these bars, which I attribute to the chunkiness of my ingredients. It wouldn’t hurt to toss large walnut and chocolate chunks into a food processor to cut back on the chunkiness. Finer-ground ingredients will adhere better with the peanut butter and oat flour. For future attempts, I may play around with the amounts of PB, flour, types of sweetners, and additional ingredients. Did I mention these bars were adaptable? 🙂

Everything Granola Bars:
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen 

1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup dark chocolate chunks or chips
3/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/8 cup agave syrup
1/8 cup pure maple syrup (feel free to substitute corn syrup or honey for the 1/4 cup agave + maple syrup combo)
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon water

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 7″ x 11″ x 2″ pan with parchment paper. You can also use a 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan if you prefer thicker bars.

Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter, liquid sweeteners and water.

Toss the wet ingredients with the dry and peanut butter until the mixture is well combined.

Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan.

Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges and top. They may seem soft but they will set as they cool.

Cool the bars in their pan completely on a cooling rack. Alternatively, you can remove the bars from the pan by lifting the parchment paper out of the pan. Bars may retain their shape better if you leave them in the pan, but they will take longer to cool. You may also chill the pan and bars in the fridge for about 30 minutes so that the bars will better set.

Once they are cool, cut the bars into your preferred size and enjoy! To store, wrap the bars in plastic or store in an airtight container. According to Deb at Smitten Kitchen, these bars also freeze well!

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