Saturday, January 10, 2009

S'Mores Granola Bars

I find that it's tough to think of snack ideas for my kid. I always have things like string cheese, yogurt tubes, raisins, and apples on hand... but I'm guilty of buying packaged processed pantry items for convenience too (little packs of cookies, pretzels, granola bars, etc.). I really hate that packaged stuff. I wish I were on-the-ball enough to create homemade snacks- all the time. Usually, I have cookies packaged into little zips tucked away in the freezer for quickie desserts. But the homemade snackie stuff is more difficult to come up with.

Inspired by a children's 'playdate' scheduled in our house the other day, I thought it would be fun to make some homemade granola bars. My son isn't so into nuts, and I wanted to pick something that would appeal to his visiting friend, so I went with a recipe that was a tad bit more on the kid-friendly spectrum: S'Mores Granola Bars.

The kids were very excited to be my official taste-testers for this recipe. The friend politely announced, however, that he was an extremely picky eater and that he probably would not like these. "Let's just see about that." I told him.

Here's the How-To:

Regular oats are toasted in the oven just as you would toast nuts... on a cookie sheet at a high heat, just until fragrant. The toasted oats are then transferred to a big bowl and mixed with Rice Krispies.

In a saucepan, butter, sugar, water, corn syrup and salt are boiled together for 5 minutes. In the middle of making this, I realized that I had less than 1/4 cup of the 1/2 cup of corn syrup needed for the recipe. Panic ensued! Scouring the pantry for a proper substitute. I spied a bottle of Agave Syrup. I had no idea if it would work, but I did it anyways... used what corn syrup I had and filled the rest of the 1/2 cup with the Agave Syrup (and crossed my fingers).

The boiled syrupy mixture is mixed with the oats/krispies and some marshmallows, and then pressed into a half-sheet pan (not to worry if you don't have one of these... you can also use 13x9 pans).

More marshmallows and desired chocolate chips are sprinkled on top.

I used another sheet pan (bottom greased) to press on top... it made the mixture flat and even, and all goodies were compacted together nicely.


The pan is popped into the oven for a short three minutes- just enough to toast those marshmallows so they become 'S'More-like."

Cutting is easiest while they're still warm. I got about 25 good-sized granola bars out of the batch, but you could likely get about 35 if you cut them into smaller squares. Each granola bar was packaged individually... I wrapped them with plastic wrap and then stuck them into a sealed container.

We've been eating these for a couple of days now and they're still very good. I'd probably package them in zips next time though as they did harden up a little... but that's ok since most granola bars are more firm than soft. They were quite delicious fresh out of the oven though!

What did my official taste testers think of these bars? Well, my son raved and raved about them. And Mr. Picky Eater Friend? He was pleasantly surprised that he liked them (he ate his whole bar), and he was very happy that I sent home a bunch for his family to enjoy too.

My verdict is that these were excellent snacks- they were incredibly simple to make, and they reminded me of rice krispie treats. They're definitely adult-friendly as well- my husband has been munching on them too. I'm sure there are more healthful granola bar recipes out there, and I'll be looking to try those also, but this one's a keeper for sure. (Oh, and that agave syrup substitute seemed to work out just fine.)

This recipe can be found HERE.

42 comments:

Sophie said...

These look great - love the gooey marshmallow. I'm all for kids eating less sugar but they also need energy and I really like your idea of half rice cripsies, half oats.

I make a lot of granola bar type recipes but have never tried toasting the oats first. Do they burn easily?

Kristen said...

I love it! I also have a hard time coming up with snack foods for the kids. I love the healthiness of them. I'm glad to hear that agave syrup worked well!

Beautiful!

Leslie said...

I too am soooo quilty in buyin the pre packaged snack foods.
These look wonderful!

Bridgett said...

These look fabulous. I am wondering how they would do in the freezer??? It would be great if you could freeze some for later but I wonder how the marshmallow would hold up? Thanks for posting the recipe!

kellypea said...

Yummers! We're on the same wave length sort of. Since back-to-school was last week and I'm on this "use what's on hand" kick, I told my son I'm making his week's supply of sweets for his lunch and after school. He gets to choose the recipe. One week down and how many to go? ARG!

Heather said...

mmmmm. those sound so good :) the marshmallows look soo good and toasty!

HoneyB said...

oh, these look divine! :) Yummy.

Karen said...

These look and sound good. They'd be good for a child's birthday party treat, too1

jillian said...

I love s'mores and these look awesome!

Snooky doodle said...

these bars are fantastic :)thanks for sharing. ha these are a hit :)

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

I bet the kids loved these! Not too many kids can pass up marshmallow and choc. chips!

Patsyk said...

What a great idea! I may have to try this one out on my two little guys. I'm sure they'd love it.

Sara said...

Wow! These look so good, I think my mouth is watering. :) I can't wait to try this recipe out.

CookiePie said...

Those look great - and what a fabulous idea!

Eliana said...

These look awesome. I don't have kids but do have a boyfriend (who is like a big kid) and plan on surprising him with these bars. I'm sure they would also be great for that afternoon sugar craving me and my coworkers get while in the office around 3pm.

apparentlyjessy said...

These look delicious! And being an Australian its a smores recipe I can get all the ingredients for (we don't have gram crackers here)
Thanks for posting it!

Half Baked said...

I love s'mores and this looks like a great snack idea. Will have to give them atry!

Girl Japan said...

Looks like I need to make a trip to costco and a BIG bag of oats... hehe

RG you are so brilliant... these are fabulous combination. Nice Crisp Snacks.... ..

Barbara Bakes said...

I love the step by step pictures! Looks gooey and good!

Helene said...

Why do I always look at your recipes when I'm super hungry? Looks so good.

Sharon said...

I get sick of buying granola bars as well but if only I had more time....

These look so amazing and I happen to have some agave syrup just sitting in my pantry!

Val said...

Mmmm, those look great! I love your blog! I check in a few times a week to see what you're making.

Grace said...

loverly idea all around--i love things that can double as snack and dessert. good thinking!

VeggieGirl said...

Ahhh, I wish I had those treats back in the day when I was at Girl Scout camp, haha!! Perfect s'mores treat :-)

Elle said...

These look so good, and i know my kids would love them! And adults, too, I'm sue ;)

Aggie said...

I am always looking for snack ideas for my kids, I've been wanting to make homemade granola bars...these look awesome!! I will be making them for sure.

Katrina said...

YUM! My boys would love these, too!

The Blonde Duck said...

Those look fabulous! Who doesn't love smores?

jtr4511 said...

These are excellent. I made 1/2 of the recipe and they turned out nicely. I put each bar info it's only baggie. The kids loved them. They are disappearing quickly!
Thanks for another great recipe.

Kathi said...

They look nice, but I don't think that's what children should eat. It's way too much sugar. They will have dental problems and their insulin will go crazy. So you end up with overweight kids and a fair amount of dental bills. Don't think it's worth it, sorry. Just because something is home-made, doesn't make it healthy.

Gretchen Noelle said...

These look fun. Too bad there are no rice crispies and below par marshmallows here. One day...

RecipeGirl said...

Kathi- Interesting observation. I wasn't really pushing this as a healthy treat... just featuring one that was not 'processed, packaged food.' fyi- my kid eats plenty of fruits and healthy foods besides this one fun treat. I'd love ideas about healthier snacks though.

Joe and Laurie said...

I'm guilty of eating S'Mores Granola Bars (packaged!) as a quick breakfast on my way to work!! I'm going to try making these next week-end! I stumbled upon your blog a few weeks ago and have it bookmarked as a favorite. I made a New Years Resolution to try out a new recipe each week, much to the delight of my husband!
Thanks for sharing all of your ideas (healthy or unhealthy)! ;)

Bunny said...

Nobody in my house is crazy about nuts so this would be perfect for us!

That Girl said...

I have never made my own granola bars, even though I've made my own granola for a couple years now. I'm just not as daring as you. Although it would be nice to have some snacks for the hubs since he eats like a child.

MsGourmet said...

what a great idea and if i used pink marshmallows my little Miss Hoover would probably down the whole tray!

Kathi said...

Recipe Girl - I just sent you an email. Hope you got it. I turned into an anti sugar fanatic after reading the Sugar Blues book. So, my son (2) doesn't get any. It amazes me how often he gets offered candy and how surprised people look when I tell them he doesn't eat that stuff. He never cries over it because he just doesn't know it.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

No wonder even the picky eater liked them, they must be amazing!

Jenn's Baking Chamber said...

Those look awesome! the marshmallows and chocolate chips look so perfect on top! I bet you could play around with that granola bar recipe and have some fun with nuts and berries! thanks for the recipe, yummy!

Sarena Shasteen said...

Yum, I can't wait to try these out! My kids will definitely love them!

Melanie said...

Yum! I love homemade granola bars - they taste so much better then store-bought! I make mine with sweetened condensed milk instead of butter and corn syrup.

katskitchen said...

I wanted to stop by and tell you I MADE THESE LAST NIGHT! Yum! Although, mine turned out more crunchy then soft and chewy. Is that how yours turned out? It could have been my procedure. I lost part of the candy coating on the sides of the bowl. I should have made a well with the oatmeal mixture before pouring the hot mixture in the bowl...any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks for the recipe!