7-minute Microwave Granola Bars

Mr. FP and I are both devoted brown-baggers. I can count on one hand the number of times I went out to lunch from work, and the last time I tried, back when I was briefly a university office manager, I became spectacularly ill in front of my student assistant. (I was in the family way.)

Bringing your lunch is a huge savings even if you pack convenience foods, but you can, of course, save even more with a little work. So if we want to bring yogurt, we buy quarts and scoop some into a little dish, for instance. One expense that caught my eye was Mr. FP’s granola bars. He favors Nature Valley dark chocolate (because they are delicious), but those suckers are expensive.

I don’t believe in torturing loved ones by taking away their favorite treats willy-nilly. So the big question was, could I make granola bars that would be equally yummy? Something he would want to eat? Happily, the answer was a resounding yes. These are very different from the crunchy Nature Valley types, but they are desert-quality delicious, hearty, and full of healthy fats.

I started with this Red and Honey recipe because it required only a few ingredients, all of which I already owned. The main change I made was adapting it to be made in the microwave. Stovetop is the least efficient way to cook, energy-wise, plus I find it tedious. (I already blogged about how I make yogurt with the microwave.) The Red and Honey has a lot of different options, but here’s my variation:

2/3 c. peanut butter

2/3 c. coconut oil

2/3 c. honey

2 c. rolled oats, raw

1 3/4 c. coconut flakes (I toast them in the oven first, but this is optional. Unsweetened are ideal, but they are bizarrely expensive. So I usually compromise by using about half unsweetened and half of the much cheaper sweetened kind.)

1/4 c. chocolate chips

Combine peanut butter, coconut oil, and honey in a microwave-safe bowl. Nuke on high, starting with thirty-second increments and decreasing as you go along, stirring in between, until the coconut oil and peanut butter are melted and it’s all nice and smooth.

Stir in the oats. It looks about like this at this stage:

Glass bowl of melted oil, honey, and peanut butter with rolled oats poured on top.

Once the oats are coated, stir in the coconut flakes, then add the chocolate chips. Now, I like my chips to melt all through, so I stir them in while it’s still hot, and stir until the chips melt and mix in, like this:

Glass bowl full of oats coated with melted oil, chocolate, etc., with a child's foot visible.

Baby foot not included.

Press the mixture into an ungreased 9×13 pan. Stick in your fridge for a few hours, until it sets. Then cut into bars (a flat metal spatula is an ideal tool). You can wrap them individually for use in lunches, or store in an airtight container with wax paper (or cut-up cereal bags) between the layers. Since a lot of these wind up getting eaten at home by our preschoolers, this is how I keep mine:

Plastic container of homemade granola bars.

Store in the fridge and enjoy!

What are your favorite granola bar variations?

 

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About frugalparagon

I'm a part-time librarian and mom to two small boys. I blog about striving for the long-term goal of financial independence while running a tight ship at home.

4 responses to “7-minute Microwave Granola Bars”

  1. Mrs PoP says :

    I’ve been making bars out of this cookbook I got last year called Power Hungry and LOVE them. So easy to make your own kind bars or other energy bars and have them around (and know exactly what ingredients went into it) than buy expensive ones from the store.

  2. Mrs. Frugalwoods says :

    Nice! We’re all about taking our own lunches and snacks everywhere and, since we don’t buy any packaged foods, I’ve been thinking that making granola bars would be a great idea. This sounds like a wonderful recipe! I bet these would be great on a hike… thanks!

  3. Sarah says :

    They sound good! BTW I can usually find inexpensive unsweetened coconut flakes in the Middle Eastern foods section of my local Asian grocery store.

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