Published on October 18th, 2012 | by Heather Carr


October Unprocessed, Day Eighteen – Granola Bars are a Stumbling Block

Rolled Oats

When I was a kid, my mom would sometimes bring home Carnation breakfast bars from the store. I loved them! They were slightly crunchy, coated in chocolate (yay!), and full of chocolate chips to boot. Plus it said on the box that they were healthy. What kid wouldn’t love a candy bar approved by adults?

Granola bars in the 1970s were pretty much what most granola bars are today – candy bars with a health halo. My mom knew that, which is why we didn’t get them every time we went to the grocery store. They were treats.

Carnation breakfast bars were discontinued in 1979, after they changed the formula from slightly crunchy to gooey and chewy. I missed them, until I found Quaker Dipps. Now (except for this month) I enjoy having a granola bar with a cup of water or tea for breakfast each day. They also make handy snacks for between meals or when out hiking.

Quaker Dipps are also very processed.  Like most commercially-produced granola bars, only a portion of the list contains foods that might pass the Kitchen Test.  High fructose corn syrup shows up several times as an ingredient of another ingredient.  There’s also “glyceryl lacto esters of fatty acids”.  I’m sure I couldn’t make that without a chemistry kit.

Last year, during October Unprocessed, I searched for granola bars to substitute for Dipps. The unprocessed bars I found didn’t appeal to me. Some were chewier than I like and some just weren’t to my taste.

This year, I decided to make my own copycat recipe.   I’ve been thinking about making my own for a while.  Getting the granola to stick together has been the hard part. Most granola bar recipes use corn syrup to keep them together. I don’t think corn syrup passes the Kitchen Test. I tried simple syrup, but that didn’t hold them together, either. It just made them sweeter, which isn’t what I’m looking for.

Nevertheless, I like the granola that I came up with, even if I have to eat it with a bowl and spoon.


7 servings (1/2 cup each)

1 cup peanuts, roasted and salted
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup puffed rice
½ cup chocolate chips

Partially crush the peanuts, so that you have a mix of peanut chunks and peanut dust. It sounds weird, but it really helps the texture.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix. Eat.

Rolled oats photo via Shutterstock

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About the Author

Heather Carr loves food, politics, and innovative ways to make the world a better place. She counts Jacques Pepin and Speed Racer among her inspirations. You can find her on Facebook or .

6 Responses to October Unprocessed, Day Eighteen – Granola Bars are a Stumbling Block

  1. I have also been looking for the perfect granola bar recipe! This one is pretty good – a little fall-aparty, but they stay together better than anything else I’ve come up with.

    One tip: don’t be like me and think that you can skip the wax paper. I’ve tried it with just a greased pan, and the bars break up into loose granola if you try to get them out of just a greased pan for some reason.

  2. Heather Carr says:

    Wax paper is an excellent tip. Scraping granola out of a pan is not fun.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I gave up on the bars and just eat it in the bowl too, or as a snack by the spoonful that I make homemade. My tummy and tastebuds are just as happy, though I do miss the “bar” part. :P

  4. Pingback: Eat Drink Better | DIY: Make Your Own Easy, Fast, And Delicious Granola Bars | Page: 1 | Eat Drink Better

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