These bars have loads of potential - easy to make, and I like the idea of making my own granola bars. However, part of the reason I don't care for store-bought (in addition to the preservatives / fillers) is how sweet they are! Unfortunately these bars are WAY too sweet made as is - both granola and the fruits have tons of sugar in them so the brown sugar amount stated in the recipe is just overload. I used a mix of dried apricots, strawberries, kiwi fruit, mango, and pineapple for my version. The chewiness of the bars is excellent (though I had to cook for 30 minutes, not 20 to get them browned); I just wish they were less sweet. Not sure how to make again with the same texture while cutting down on the sugar so unfortunately I probably won't make these again.
I have been searching for a good granola bar recipe for a long time. This one is pretty good. I made several changes however. I thought that using granola and 1 1/4 cup brown sugar would be WAY too sweet so I toasted 1 1/2 cups rolled oats to sub for the granola and used 2/3 cup brown sugar. I also substituted some ground flax for some of the white flour, used unsweetened coconut, and dried cherries and blueberries for the fruit. I figured out the nutritional value of my version and despite the fact that I used a lot less sugar and just oats instead of low fat granola (which is loaded with sugar) my calorie count was only a few calories off from the CL version (same serving size) So, I would say that they have way understated the nutritional value and they never show the sugar content which in my version still had 13g of sugar per serving. They were tasty though!
I sub'd part of the AP flour for ground flax meal (.5 oz) and used my kids' favorite dried fruit that i had on hand, apricots and raisins, and chocolate chips. I didnt have any coconut on hand, but will addbit next time. It's more like a blondie than a chewy granola bar, but it's now a family favorite!
These taste very nice, but they are more like muffins in texture, not as dense as I was hoping for. I used all whole wheat flour, and based on other reviews I reduced the sugar to 1/2 C.(used honey). It was still a tad sweet for the kind of snack I was going for. The granola and fruit really do provide a lot of sweetness. If I make these again I will make some changes, perhaps adding a lot more filler, and making my own mixture of oats, nuts, fruit, and maybe some bran.
My family loved this recipe. Even my picky kids liked them and my non-sweet-liking spouse. I made the recipe exactly as-is. Yes, they are sweet, but we liked them that way. The texture was chewy as expected. I made a second batch the next day and froze most of them for last-minute snacks when we go out in a hurry.
To me it tasted more like a crisp you would serve with ice cream rather than a granola bar. I would definitely use less sugar and I would probably use applesauce instead of oil. The fruit and granola really give it enough sweetness-the extra 1 1/4 c of brown sugar give it that dessert like taste. I will bypass this recipe in the future.
I make these just as the recipe says- well I guess not. I make my own granola and add any mixture of dried fruit that I have on hand. They are great for kids lunches.