Granola bars are one of my favorite grab-n-go snack foods. They’re easy to pack, store well and can give you a much needed energy boost when you’re out and about but aren’t ready for a full meal. Plus, they tend to be a little bit healthier than a jumbo chocolate chip cookie, which is also a favorite treat. Homemade granola bars are quite easy to make and definitely fit the bill for a tasty snack.
These Coconut Apricot Granola Bars with Walnuts have an ingredient list that is very similar to that of regular granola. They start with a dry mix of oatmeal, puffed rice, coconut and flaxseed. Oatmeal gives the granola bars a certain heartiness, while the puffed rice adds a crispy element and keeps the bars from feeling too dense. I like a crispy-chewy combination in a granola bar. Those ingredients are bound together with a simple syrup that adds a little sweetness to the mix, and helps to make the bars chewy. I added chopped, dried apricots and walnuts to the bars, which add another crispy-chewy combination to these bars. The bars are baked slightly to help bind them together a little more strongly and keep them from crumbling as you eat them. If you like a little extra crunch, you can bake the granola bars for a few extra minutes after cutting them into individual bars, too.
I used agave syrup when making these granola bars, which adds sweetness and helps all the ingredients bind together. Agave syrup can be found in most markets these days, but if you don’t have agave syrup, you can use corn syrup or even brown rice syrup in its place. Agave has a nice, neutral flavor that doesn’t overwhelm the coconut or other elements in the bars.
Coconut Apricot Granola Bars with Walnuts
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal (e.g. Rice Krispies)
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
1/2 cup agave syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped, dried apricots
Preheat oven to 350F.
Line a 9×9″ square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, lightly greased.
In a large bowl, combine oats, rice krispies, ground flaxseed and shredded coconut.
In a small saucepan, combine agave syrup, brown sugar and butter. Bring to a boil, whisking to dissolve sugar. Boil for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract and salt. Pour into oat mixture and stir until dry ingredients are evenly moistened. At this point it should look something like unbaked granola. Stir in walnuts and dried apricots.
Pour mixture into prepared pan and press firmly down into an even layer.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, until bars are a light golden brown. Allow to cool completely in the pan.
Cut into 16-20 bars with a sharp knife. Individually wrap in wax paper, if desired. Store in an airtight container.