Maple Crisp Granola Bars

By Ann Fulton

These crunchy bars are very lightly sweet, nutty, seedy, and delightfully satiating. Perfect for breakfast-on-the-run and convenient snacking anytime!
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These crunchy bars are very lightly sweet, nutty, seedy, and delightfully satiating. Perfect for breakfast-on-the-run and convenient snacking anytime!

 

Several years ago, my husband Jack discovered a crunchy, seedy, very lightly sweet (with a hint of salty) granola bar made by a local bakery. He quickly became a fan, and often enjoyed the bars for breakfast or a filling snack.

Quality control was spotty at times, and occasionally he came home with undercooked bars that weren’t as crisp as he liked. Over time, he learned to seek out the bags that looked a little darker. 

Occasional undercooked batch aside, these bars were delicious and held particular appeal to those who enjoy a crisp granola bar that is not overly sweet. The bars were in short supply in the early stages of the pandemic, which threw a wrench into Jack’s–and likely many other local fans’– breakfast and snacking routine.

Around that time, my friend Stacie coincidently mentioned that her family was missing these bars. Did she think I could figure out the recipe?

These crunchy bars are very lightly sweet, nutty, seedy, and delightfully satiating. Perfect for breakfast-on-the-run and convenient snacking anytime!

Replicating the bars became a joint effort. Stacie got the ball rolling with the original list of ingredients, and then I made some modifications.

Interestingly, the original bars were honey crisp bars, but I found that maple syrup created a slightly better bar. That, of course, necessitated a name change.

In order to make the best possible bar in terms of flavor and texture (with special attention to ensure these crisp bars were not too crumbly), we also felt a modest amount of nut butter was in order. Seed butter may absolutely be used for those with a nut allergy, and the recipe offers built-in flexibility in other ways too.

So, while the end result may have strayed somewhat from the original, it’s pretty close. The funny thing is that when Stacie was able to find the store-bought variety again, her family didn’t want them.

They all said the homemade variety was better. Jack agrees. 😉

 

After assembling a short list of wholesome ingredients, a few simple tips will ensure granola bars that are crisp but not crumbly:
Great tip for making sturdy granola bars.

Helpful tip: To ensure an even, compact layer, use the bottom of a measuring cup or flat-bottomed glass to firmly press down all over the surface of the bars before baking.

These crunchy bars are very lightly sweet, nutty, seedy, and delightfully satiating. Perfect for breakfast-on-the-run and convenient snacking anytime!

Lining the pan with parchment paper makes it easy to lift the cooled bars out of the pan, where they are easier to cut. No parchment paper? You could use very lightly greased foil. For most effective cutting, I use a long, serrated knife and gently saw back and forth. The gentle, back-and-forth motion helps prevent the crisp bars from breaking while cutting. 

These crunchy bars are very lightly sweet, nutty, seedy, and delightfully satiating. Perfect for breakfast-on-the-run and convenient snacking anytime!  

Maple Crisp Granola Bars
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 10 bars
These crunchy bars are very lightly sweet, nutty, seedy, and delightfully satiating. Perfect for breakfast-on-the-run and convenient snacking anytime!
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups (156g) quick-cooking oats (not instant)
  • ½ cup (60g) oat flour*
  • ⅓ cup (35-40g) mixed seeds (like sunflower, pepitas, sesame, hemp, and flaxseeds)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup (64g) almond or cashew butter (peanut butter works, too, and a seed butter could be used in the case of a nut allergy)
  • ⅓ cup (106g) pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup (56ml) oil (like safflower, sunflower, canola, or melted coconut)
Instructions

Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper so that the paper extends slightly over the edges of the pan and preheat the oven to 350℉. (Helpful hint: I fold the parchment along the four inside edges and then crease along the corners to help it stay put. The parchment will allow you to easily remove the bars for cutting later.)

In medium bowl, stir together the oats, oat flour, seeds, and salt. Set aside.

Place the nut butter in a mixing bowl. (Tip: if the nut butter is cold or particularly firm, you may wish to soften it in the microwave.) Stir in the maple syrup, followed by the oil, stirring until the mixture is incorporated. Stir in the dry ingredients until completely blended. The mixture will be stiff.

Transfer to the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. With the bottom of a measuring cup, firmly press down all over to ensure an even, compact layer. Pro tip: Evenly sprinkle the surface with an extra teaspoon or two of seeds and/or oats, and then very lightly press down on them. This simply gives the surface a prettier look.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, give or take a few based on oven and color of baking pan, or until the bars are lightly golden over the surface. (The bars take 28 minutes in my oven.)

Allow the bars to cool and then, using the edges of the parchment paper, lift them out of the pan. To cut them, I like to use a long, serrated knife and gently saw back and forth. This makes it easier to cut the crunchy bars without breaking them. But no worries if any of them do break, as they still taste great!

*If you don’t have oat flour, you can grind oats in a blender until they resemble a fine powder.

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