My kids love Nature valley oat bars! They are on my shopping list every single week. My kids usually take them to school in their lunch boxes or enjoy them for breakfast, crumbled over a bowl of honey vanilla Greek yogurt. I love how they are the perfect portable snack on a road trip or when we go for a walk by the sea.
I have been looking for the recipe to make them for quite some time and have tried a number of recipes that were either too chewy or too hard or fell apart completely when I tried to cut them. I also tried the no bake granola bars but those missed the mark in lacking the crunch that we love in the baked Nature valley ones.
Fast forward to this month’s Secret recipe club assignment. I was assigned Shockingly delicious by the talented Dorothy and after spending hours in her archives and bookmarking her tropical green smoothie and her biggest loser chocolate pudding and nutty oat cold cereal I found her her Better than Nature valley crunchy granola bars and stopped searching.
Dorothy is one of the people that really stood out when I first joined the secret recipe club. He enthusiasm and wonderful spirit really draws you in and makes you smile. She describes her blog as a “space that specializes in scrumptious, simple-to-prepare, tried and true recipes, tips and coaching to make YOU a fabulous home cook. These are “scary good” recipes with big flavors, so don’t blame me if you need a 12-step program to wean yourself from your addiction to some of them! You’ve been warned!
Shockingly delicious offers inspiration, a nudge and a formula for success, because if you start with the right recipe at the right time, you are halfway to the finish line! These recipes will definitely get you noticed when you bring them to a potluck.”
I made the recipe 3 times in one week! The first was as Dorothy shared it and the result was brilliant, crunchy bars that the kids loved but I had a problem with the amount of butter in the recipe. So I decided to try and use healthier substitutions. I made the bars with apple sauce instead of butter and date syrup instead of the sugar. The result was softer more chewy bars. They were very tasty but more cake like than granola bar like. So for the third attempt I made them with coconut oil instead of butter and replaced part of the sugar with honey and the result was PERFECT!
Crunchy bars with the same texture and flavor as the Nature Valley honey and oat bars only these are homemade and completely free from preservatives and additives. The kids LOVED them and are now demanding a chocolate version which is on the menu for this week 🙂
Recipe: Crunchy Granola Bars (Better than Nature Valley)
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup all purpose flour (see notes for substitutions)
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1 cup puffed rice
- 6 tablespoons coconut oil
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- Heat the oven to 350 F (177 C) degrees.Place the oven rack in the lowest position. Line a 13- by 9-inch baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.
- Mix the oats, flour, puffed rice and coconut in a large mixing bowl.
- Melt the coconut oil in a medium saucepan on the stove, and then add the salt, honey and brown sugar. Stir and heat till the sugar dissolves completely and the mix comes to a simmer.
- After it simmers, turn off the heat, add the vanilla and baking soda, and gently stir. The mixture will foam up and lighten in color, thickening somewhat. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and stir or mix by hand until the dry ingredients completely take up the wet mixture
- Turn the mixture out of the pan into the prepared baking dish, and press it down, using an offset spatula or the back of a metal spoon.
- Use another baking tray or loaf pan to press the mixture down. You need to press it as hard as you can then press it some more. This is the key to helping the bars stick together and not fall apart when you cut them
- Bake for 10 minutes at 350 F (177)degrees, and then turn the oven down to 325F (162 C)degrees and bake for another 5 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.
- Remove from oven and use the flat bottom of a small pan or dish to press down granola bars again
- Allow to cool for 15 minutes and then use parchment paper sling to carefully lift granola bars out onto a cutting board. Cool for 5 more minutes and then cut into 27 bars
- Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely
You can replace the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour or with ground nuts if you want to make these gluten free