(The Healthy Lunchbox series will appear weekly with suggestions on how to replace packaged snacks and lunches with easy homemade recipes that kids will love. To kick off the series, here is a great recipe for white and milk chocolate granola bars. )
Of all the packaged snacks I sometimes include in my kids’ lunches, the “Chewy” granola bars are the ones I feel most guilty about. They just look so unappetizing, like cardboard, really. Which is why I am so excited to have finally made my first batch of homemade bars right in my own kitchen! How could it be that I did not have a clue how easy they were to prepare? A no brainer! As corny as it sounds, once you make your own batch, you will never buy store bought again! The difference is that enormous.
You will notice that my granola bars are nut free (so that my kids can bring them to their nut-free school) and also do not contain dried fruit (because I want my kids to actually eat these and they wouldn’t if they spotted a raisin or cranberry). This is what works for my family, but by all means have fun with these! Bring out your kids’ favorites and pack em’ in. I would try marshmallows, Oreos, dried apricots or dates, choice is yours.
A few notes:
I added the chocolate chips to the warm oats as I wanted the chocolate to be incorporated throughout. If you want the chips to retain their shape, add them to the top of the granola once pressed into the cookie sheet.
I used caramelized Rice Krispies (click here for recipe) for added depth of flavour. I make big batches and keep them in my pantry. If you do not want to go the trouble, plain Rice Krispies straight from the box will be just as delish.
Chocolate Granola Bars
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup honey
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- a pinch of fine sea salt
- 2 cups quick oats
- 1½ cups caramelized Rice Krispies (or regular works just as well)
- ⅓ cup milk chocolate chips
- ¼ white chocolate chips
- Bring the butter, brown sugar and honey to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir the mixture often
- Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and stir for another 2 minutes, until sugar mixture thickens.
- Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract and salt and mix to combine.
- Add the 2 cups quick oats, and Rice Krispies and make sure properly coated with the sugar-honey mixture.
- Once the mix has cooled a bit, mix the chocolate chips.
- Pour the granola mix into a prepared 9 X 13 cookie pan lined with parchment paper.
- Flatten well and place in the refrigerator to cool for 2 hours.
- Slice the granola into rectangles with a sharp knife and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.