Chewy Granola Bars loaded with Oats, Dried Fruits and Nuts

Chewy Oat Meal Bars

Before proceeding with the chewy granola bar recipe I would like to thank Anjali Damerla of Supreme Spice for coming forward to sponsor the prizes for the winners of Whole Wheat Baking Event. She has gladly agreed to send Tea Masala Extract, Garlic Extract, Garam Masala Extract and Kesar Milk Extract for Sadhana and Muskaan. I have myself used the Tea Masala extract and Kesar Milk Extract and we all love it in our family. Tea masala is my favorite because it refreshes you instantly. I have also used that extract while baking this Vegan Christmas Fruitcake.

For long time now I have wanted to bake granola bars. It’s going to be almost a year and a half since I started this blog but I don’t have a single recipe here for granola bars. I have collected/bookmarked a lot of recipes but did not bake one until now. Since I’m conducting the Whole Grain – Oats event, I felt this is my chance to give it a shot. I was browsing through Esther Brody’s 250 Best Bars and Squares book and this recipe caught my immediate attention, because it was simple to bake and also had room for a lot of changes, to suit our taste.

Also this recipe is a good one if you want to start involving your kids in baking and to get them pitch more in the kitchen. My son has shown interest in baking for sometime now and once I read the recipe I immediately recognized that he would love to help me. So off we set with a mixing bowl and spatula to bake these simple and chewy granola bars.

These bars are quite healthy too but for the use of condensed milk. If portion control is maintained this can very well be a grab and go breakfast or an after school snack or dessert in my son’s case.

Chewy Granola Bars Recipe

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Prep TimeCook TimeMakes
15 Mins30 Mins16 Squares OR 8 Bars
AuthorCategoryMethod
BarsBaking
Chewy Granola Bars loaded with Oats, Dried Fruits and Nuts Give homemade granola bars a try with this simple and healthy recipe. These chewy granola bars is loaded with oats, dried fruits and nuts and quite low in fat too.
Ingredients:
  • 3 cups Quick Cooking Oats (I used Quaker’s Large Flake)
  • 1 cup Dried Cranberries
  • 1 cup Sunflower Seeds (I used salted)
  • 1 cup Slivered Almonds
  • 1/2 cup Mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 can/300ml (See My Notes) Condensed Milk (I used low fat)
  • 1/4 cup Canola Oil
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Applesauce
Procedure:
  1. Preheat oven to 325F/160C for 15 minutes. Line a 13×9 inch pan with aluminum foil and grease it well with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl mix together oats, cranberries, seeds, nuts and chocolate chips.
  3. Add condensed milk and mix thoroughly. Also stir in the oil and applesauce until blended.
  4. Spread evenly in prepared pan. Use a spatula to smoothen it. If you feel that the oats sticks to the spatula, grease it with cooking spray and smooth it out.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until top is lightly browned. I felt mine was not done after 25 minutes so gave it another 6 minutes. By then it had browned a little.
  6. Place the pan on a rack to cool slightly, then carefully lift the foil and place it on the wire rack. When it is cool completely cut it into bars. You can either go for the usual rectangular shaped bars (like the store bought ones) or squares. I cut them into squares to cut the calorie intake. Dipping the knife in hot water will enable easy cutting.
Taste:
  1. As per the original recipe these bars were supposed to be crispy because it used 1/2 cup melted butter/margarine. Since I had used applesauce (to sub for 1/2 the fat and little condensed milk) the bars were chewy, which we all liked very much. My son loves it very much and takes it for lunch everyday (for dessert). It has the perfect blend of sweetness from the condensed milk and chocolate chips, tanginess from the dried cranberries and little salt from the sunflower seeds.
  2. This chewy granola bars recipe is a good basic recipe where you can play with the combination of nuts, seeds and dried fruits of your choice.
My Notes:
  1. The original recipe used raisins, but I went with dried cranberries because I felt the sourness from it will balance the overall sweetness of the bars. You could try chopped apricots too.
  2. The other change I made was using slivered almonds instead of chopped peanuts. Again here too you can use the nuts of your choice.
  3. The recipe had called for 1 can condensed milk (14oz/398ml). Since I live in Canada now, I found that the Eagle Brand condensed milk I get here was only 300 ml. So I used 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce to make good the difference. Also it required 1/2 cup of melted butter/margarine. I decided to use 1/4 cup of canola oil and 1/4 cup of applesauce instead. After measuring 1/4 cup applesauce I found that I had only another 1/4 cup left in the jar, so I stirred in that too. So totally 1 cup unsweetened applesauce.
  4. I think this is the reason the bars took extra time while baking and also for the chewiness. So adjust the baking time according to the ingredients you use.
  5. In recipes like these (bars) and few other recipes where chocolate chips is used in large quantity, I replace it with 1/2 the quantity of mini chips. So I used 1/2 cup of mini chips instead of the 1 cup of regular chips mentioned in the original recipe.
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These chewy granola bars go to my Wholegrain Baking Event – Oats.


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39 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Madhuram,First of all congratulations to you for a wonderful site.I just happen to see this site & very excited to try some..

    Question – can i use carnation milk(evaporated milk)instead of condensed milk as binding agent?

    • Thank you very much Rani. You could give it a shot. The condensed milk is sticky because of the sugar and works alright as a binding agent, so evaporated milk minus the sugar I’m not sure how good it will be. I think I would try the following; mix all the ingredients except for the milk and then add the milk just enough to keep all the ingredients together and bake it. Try it and let me know how it turned out.

  2. Hi,i have tried few recipes from your site,they r really easy to make & since i am a vegetarian it’s exciting to find eggless recipes..
    I want to make this granola bar & was wondering if i could use instant oat instead quick oats..
    Thanks

  3. Thanks for this recipe. I would prefer not having chocolate chips because I am not too fond of chocolate flavor. Does that make any difference to any other measures or to the timing? Thanks.

  4. hi madhuram,

    i am a great fan of cereal bars,and when i saw this recipe,i absolutely fell in luv with it.

    Can u tell me a substitute for condensed milk? I need this make this bar so that it has low gi value.

    Can i substitute with a few raisins and more nuts instead of condensed milk?

    Do u have similar cereal bar recipes like this?
    (without wheat,sesame and milk products)

    thanks for your recipe,
    anu

    Anu, the condensed milk acts as a binding agent to hold together the ingredients. So it can be simply substituted with dried fruits. Maybe you can mix together all the other ingredients and try adding maple syrup/honey little by little until all of it holds together and bake it. I’m not sure about the exact baking time without having done it myself. Maybe you can play around it a little bit. I will try to post more bar recipes. Meanwhile try google for some more bar recipes.

  5. Hey, I love this granola bars. Made it today and it came out very nice. Thanks for recipe. I love egglesscooking.
    though one question,
    I want to send it to India with my in laws. can you please tell me how to store it properly ? how long it has shelf life ?

    Thanks Shah. I think it will keep good for at least a week if stored properly. Try baking it the day before they leave. Cool it overnight and the next day morning, cut it and wrap the individual bars in plastic wrap and then store the wrapped bars in a zip-loc bag. I think this should keep it good.

  6. hi madhu

    i m trying this recipe for the second time but this time also it keeps falling apart… i have followed the recp exactly wot u have said… just made small changes.. instead of 1/2 cup chocolate chip i hv use chopped walnuts… if u see the bottom of the granola bar it is perfect brown.. so i m sure tht it is bake properly.. but not sure wot mistake i m doing.. can u plz tell me..

    i love ur each n every recipe my son love its so much…
    thanks for ur recipe u r doing amazing job.

    Hi Deepa, I really don’t know what’s happening. Maybe you are cutting it too soon without letting it to cool down completely and that’s why it keeps falling apart.

  7. I am a fishing guide, and these will be great to take on trips. For the second batch, I switched to 1.5 cups of cranberries, a cup of almonds, and a cup of crushed dried banana chips. These came out excellent.

    That’s a neat idea Walter. Thanks.

  8. Madhuram,

    sorry about the multiple query:) i found that rolled oats is what i meant by ‘steel-cut oats’. that’s what i buy for making porridge, cookies etc., we get fine, medium flakes. please let me know if this can be used in the bars. thanks a bunch!

    That’s fine Latha. I was pretty sure that you should be able to get rolled oats anywhere. Rolled oats and quick cooking oats can be used interchangeably while baking. You can use either fine or medium flakes, it’s your choice.

  9. Madhuram, The bars look amazing. I have one question to ask. Can we use normal oats instead of quick cooking? Where I live it’s not easy to find the latter but we get regular steel-cut in plenty. Does it make any difference to the final product?

    Latha, I’m pretty sure that steel cut oats will not be suitable for this recipe. If it’s ok please tell me/email where you live so that I can also search for related information in the net.

  10. Hi Madhu,

    Granola bars do taste awesome, but faced few issues, not sure if you had them too…do they become brittle while trying to cut into pieces?? mine are, also the bottom got a lot browner than the top..so can feel the taste.Also the time taken to bake was nearly around 35-40 mins that too I kept switching the temp( was little impatient). what sort of baking pan did you use…lighter one or dark coated.kindly let me know

    thanks
    kavita

    Kavita, to tell you the truth I don’t remember if I used a glass pan or a non stick pan. By seeing the picture with browned edges I think I have used a dark coating non stick pan. Did you line the pan with foil? Have you followed the exact measurements I have given or did you change any of that? Actually these bars do not need 35-40 minutes, because it is more of binding together all the ingredients and cooking the oats. You can see that it does not have any leaveners, so there is no necessity to think that it has to rise etc.

  11. These look amazing – I’m off to buy more oats as it turns out I’m almost out!! I’m going to try lite coconut milk instead of condensed milk – the fat in the coconut milk is so healthy and I just love the flavours it adds to baking. I’ll let you know if it works! 🙂

    That’s a good idea, but you will have to do something for the sweetness. Do let me know after trying it Anne.

  12. the bars look delicious i want to try it rightaway. can u tell me a method of peeling the sunflower seeds or it needs to be done one by one 🙂

    Meera, I used the shelled sunflower seeds which is already ready to eat.

  13. I saw this recipe and IMMEDIATELY made them.

    They are cooling on the counter right now and I can’t wait to eat them!

    Thanks a bunch!

    You’re welcome Danielle and thanks to you too for trying it out.

  14. These look incredibly healthy. You’ve captured the crunchy textured and the fruit laden bars perfectly.:) Plus I have to say I love the way you’ve organised and divided the recipe into three sectional tabs. Brilliant.

    Welcome to my blog Shwetha and thanks.

  15. Dear madhu , how are you.. the bars look lovely as usual.. somehow I havent been able to make them either … I will try with my homemade granola the next time . Hugs !

    I’m fine Dee. I’ve sort of become very lazy. Have been meaning to call you, hopefully tomorrow afternoon for you.

  16. Just recently my son got introduced to Granola bars , he loves those, but I know they are sugar loaded and not actually as good as the companies projects them to be.I am really curious to try these at home but yet to get baking appliances. These looks so lovely,I am sure if my son got a glimpse of this, I will be in trouble baby 😉

    Alka, my son just turned 4, taking lunch to school only from this academic year and I’m already in trouble because he keeps comparing his tiffin box with his friends. With a lot of bribe and extras he’s bringing empty box.

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