Friday, September 10, 2010

Homemade Granola Bars - Alton Brown Good Eats

I can not stand store bought granola bars. They are usually too sweet and/or loaded with stuff I produced in my college chemistry classes. You know it's bad when I read some of the ingredients and remember learning how to draw their organic structure in my O-chemistry class.

One of the ingredients found in commercial granola bars is Isoamyl acetate.  This is used in banana flavored products, as a bee attractant and was used in the aircraft industry as a wood stiffer and for wind proofing fabric (Wikipedia).  Now that sounds tasty.  I made this stuff in organic chemistry and I smelled like bananas for weeks.

Quaker Instant Oatmeal Peaches & Cream is no better. There is not a single piece of peach in the whole box.  Those are apples pieces you are eating and they are treated with sodium sulfite. This chemical is used in the food industry as a preservative and to prevent discoloring of fruit.  It is also used at water treatment plants, in the photo industry to develop photos, in the textile industry as a bleaching, desulfurizing and dechlorinating agent, for leather tanning and in the purification of TNT (Wikipedia).

A few weeks back I took a shot at making some granola bars using a recipe I found in the July 2010 edition of the 220 Triathlon magazine. They tasted great but did not hold together enough to make bars so I just crumbled them up and ate it like loose granola.  But I still want something I can eat while cycling.

Earlier this week I was watching Alton Brown's Good Eats on the Food Network. This is one of only two shows I ever watch on TV. I love this show. On this episode of Good Eats Mr Brown was demonstrating how to make granola bars, energy bars and protein bars. After watching the show I figured I was armed with enough knowledge to try making some more granola bars.

The base for my recipe can be found here. For the dried fruit I used dried pineapples, dried bananas and finely dried coconut. I also used shelled sunflower seeds instead of whole.  Who the heck eats the shells on sunflower seeds?!  Strange?!?  Although my step sister use to eat cherries pits and all. 

They came out tasting great. There are a few items I would do differently next time.
  • I think I would toast the wheat germ by itself. It toasts MUCH quicker than everything else and burns much easier. 
  • I would also make sure to wait much longer before trying to de-pan the bar. If they are not COMPLETELY cooled they will fall appart when you de-pan and cut the bars. 
  • I would also used lubed parchment paper on the bottom of the pan to make removal from the pan much easier.

Overall I am happy with these and I will make them again with various fruit and nut variations.

UPDATED 11/10/2010 Homemade Granola Bars (The Crazy World of a Running Mom)
UPDATED 10/19/2010: These look even better. Thick, Chewy Granola Bars (From: Smitten Kitchen)
UPDATED 9/23/2010: These look even better. Homemade Cherry Energy Bars (From: I TRI To Be Me)

If you are interested here are the approximate numbers: 

Number of Servings: 
  • 16 (2-inch) squares

Per Serving:
  • Calories: 193 
  • Carbohydrates: 30.52g 
  • Protein: 4.5g 
  • Fat: 6.8g 
  • Fiber: 3.66g 
  • Sodium: 61.28mg


  1. I couldn't agree more about the crap they put in our "Healthy" snacks! Just because there is a picture of fruit on the package does NOT mean it's actually in the product! Think about Frosted Flakes... is Tony the Tiger meat "IN" each bite? I think not... I'll totally give these bars a try! I might hang myself if I have to eat one more Cliff Bar!

  2. "Think about Frosted Flakes... is Tony the Tiger meat "IN" each bite" LOL!! That's awesome!! :-)

  3. The food network is all I ever watch :)

    They look great!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  4. Nice! I agree that many granola bars are not the best for you which is why I rarely eat them. Those might make me change my mind though.