Habit-forming Homemade Granola Bars

I found this recipe in a magazine and the idea of them persisted in my mind so long I actually ended up making some.  Glad I did–they make a very nice breakfast and they are filled with healthy ingredients.  Yummy moist texture, too.

  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted & cooled
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/2 T. molasses
  • 3/4 c. dark brown sugar
  • 2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 scant c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 scant c. whole wheat flour (I substituted flax-seed meal here which is rich in omega – 3, for all you nursing/pregnant women out there)
  • 1 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. kosher salt
  • 1/4 t. baking powder
  • 1 c. mixed dried fruit/nuts (I used apricot & pistachio which was good, as well as apricot & chocolate chips which was SUPER good)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and arrange rack in the center.  Line a 9-inch square baking pan [I used a round springform which made the bars easy to remove] with parchment paper.  Whisk the butter, applesauce, molasses, and brown sugar together in a large mixing bowl.  Stir in the oats, all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder with a wooden spoon until just combined.  Add the dried fruit and mix until the fruit is evenly distributed

Press the mixture into the prepared baking pan until evenly distributed, and bake until the bars turn golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.  (The bars will still be slightly soft in the center of the pan)

Remove pan from the oven and let the bars cool slightly.  Cut the bars into 9 squares and serve or transfer to an airtight to store.  Bars will keep in and airtight container at room temperature for about 3 days.