As I said in my meal plan post this week, I am on a quest to find frugal homemade alternatives to convenience food items. And, one of the results of my garbage inventory was that I want to try to reduce our waste from food packaging.
Snack bars, like granola bars or Nutrigrain bars, are so convenient to pack as snacks or to take for lunches. But, they are full of high fructose corn syrup, enriched (white) flour, white sugar, and lots of other things that really aren’t good for you. Also, because they are individually wrapped, they create a lot of packaging waste, and are pricey for an individual serving.
My wonderful hubby saw an article in the paper with a recipe for homemade fruit snack bars, and cut it out for me, and I was so excited to make these. We used fresh peaches that we picked ourselves, and frozen store bought raspberries. I’m really bad at calculating the cost of making things from scratch (I need my math genius sister’s help with that!), but I’m pretty sure that these would be cheaper per serving than a Nutrigrain bar.
Oatmeal, Raspberry and Peach Snack Bars
1/3 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp., plus 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh raspberries
1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh peaches
1 1/2 cups quick rolled oats
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. baking soda
1 large egg, lightly beaten
In a medium saucepan whisk together the orange juice, cornstarch, and 2 Tbsps. of the brown sugar. Add the raspberries and peaches and stir over medium high heat until the mixture is simmering and thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 350. Add the oats, flour, remaining 1/2 cup of brown sugar, butter and baking soda to a large mixing bowl and mix together with a fork until the dough is crumbly but beginning to stick together. Set aside 1 cup of the mixture.
Mix the egg into the remaining dough. Transfer the dough with the egg to a greased 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish and press it evenly over the bottom.
Spread the fruit filling on top, then sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over it.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until lightly browned and bubbling. Place dish on a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into 16 bars.
These did turned out pretty well. The fruit filling is really good. The bars were a little dry on the bottom and not as firm on the top as I thought they would be. They need to be refrigerated if not eaten right away (learned that the hard way!). All in all, I think they were a good alternative to nutrigrain type bars. They are really not anything like a granola bar, so I’ll still have to work on finding a recipe for homemade granola bars. I will definitely be making them again – maybe cooking for a little less time to keep them from getting to dry on the bottom. Also, I’m thinking it would be fun to try them with different fruit combinations – maybe blueberry/raspberry or strawberry/blueberry. Yum!
Do you have any good recipes for homemade snack bars or granola bars? Please leave a comment with a link or your recipe!