I don’t agree with anybody 100%, but Mark Bittman is absolutely right about one thing: store-bought granola bars are a hair’s breadth away from chocolate bars or candy bars, as my American friends call them. But they’re so dang convenient. And so long as they have oat-like properties about them, you can justify them because after all, at least they have a bit more fibre than a Snickers bar.

English: A chewy chocolate chip granola bar ma...

A chewy chocolate chip granola bar made by Keebler. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) How is this not a candy bar?

Let’s repeat that last bit, shall we?

A bit more fibre than a Snickers bar.

English: A Snickers candy bar, broken in half.

An actual Snickers candy bar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just because something isn’t as unhealthy as something else doesn’t make it healthy or even close. I have absolutely no problem with people treating themselves and eating unhealthy things as long as they admit it’s unhealthy and don’t mutter something lame like “everything in moderation” or “there are no bad foods”. I also freely admit that I love food, love trying food and definitely have my own junk food cravings that I fall prey to more often than I’d like.

Granola is actually one of my junk food cravings. So I set off on a quest to first make my own granola and second to make my own granola bars. I used Mark Bittman’s granola recipe (which you can find here) and can safely say that I will never make homemade granola again. I followed the directions to a “T” and I feel it’s A) too time consuming and B) just can’t seem to master the critical point where the granola is golden brown and baked before it gets a burnt edge to it. C’est la vie. But the granola bar thing, I’ll do that forever.

So here’s what it turned out like:

Homemade Granola Bars

Homemade Granola Bars

And they’re delicious, too.

Here’s the recipe, adapted from Mark Bittman

1/2 cut raw almond butter (or nut butter of your choice)

1/3 cup honey

1 cup crispy rice cereal

1 cup granola

1/2 cup chopped nuts of your choice (almonds, walnuts, etc. I used pecans because it was what I had on hand)

1/2 dried fruit of your choice, chopped (I used apricots)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup of chopped chocolate – optional (it was tasty, but it all melted and I’d leave this out next time)

Vegetable oil for greasing

Melt the almond butter and honey in a saucepan together over low heat, stirring frequently. Mix the remaining ingredients together in a medium to large bowl. Add butter mixture to bowl and stir to combine.

Place a little oil in the bottom of a 9″ square pan and then drap a length of plastic wrap over this. Dump granola bar mixture into pan, over the wrap. Press down until fairly even. Cover with another sheet of wrap and leave to set, about an hour in the fridge.

Verdict – With ready-made granola, these are the same difficulty and time commitment as rice crispy treats. And they are much more awesome for you. Also, the variations are pretty much endless. Enjoy.