Make your own granola bar

Consumer Reports News: June 22, 2013 09:08 AM

Before tossing a box of store-bought granola bars laden with artificial ingredients and who knows what into your picnic basket this weekend, consider making your own. Claudia Gallo, an expert from our test-kitchen, developed this granola bar recipe, which contains classic snack bar ingredients, such as chocolate chips, paired with healthy alternatives, like dried apricots and cranberries. These bars also pack a healthy punch from the addition of wheat germ. Better yet, by snacking on one of these over a store-bought option, you actually know the ingredients that you're eating.

Reduced-fat granola bars with chocolate chips

3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup sliced almonds
¼ cup wheat germ
½ cup chopped dried apricots
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup chocolate chips
⅓ cup honey
⅓ cup light brown sugar
⅓ cup light corn syrup
3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt

1. Heat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9 x13-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.
2. Toss the oats and almonds together on a sheet pan and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ. Lower oven heat to 300° F.
3. Mix in the apricots, cranberries, chocolate chips, honey, brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, vanilla, and salt. Spoon into pan, lightly pressing dough evenly into the pan with moistened fingers to prevent sticking.
4. Bake 18 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on baking rack 2 to 3 hours before cutting into bars. Makes about 30 bars.

Nutrition information per serving: 130 calories and 4.5 grams fat per bar

If you're short on time or find the idea of making your own snack bars daunting, check out the top picks in store-bought snack bars from our trained testers who rated the bars on taste, nutrition, and price.

Editor's note: A version of this story first appeared in ShopSmart Magazine

--Ciara Rafferty

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