How to Make Easy Homemade Granola Bars

Have you ever seen a recipe online that you really wanted to try, only to realize your kitchen didn't have half the ingredients needed? This is unfortunately something that I experience often, as I hate buying specific ingredients for only one recipe and having the food expire before I can use everything up. So, when I watched popular fashion blogger Aimee Song’s famous raw bar recipe, I decided to simply make do with my own ingredients and see what would happen.

Image: Aimee Song’s raw bars.

Spoiler alert: it was good.

Bars are something that can be very personal, and there are many characteristics that contribute to one’s love or hate for whatever bar: softness/crunchiness, “healthy” taste -- which I’ve noticed is something many of my friends and family dislike --, ingredients, etcetera. To make sure my bar was good enough to share with others, I handed out my first few batches to my mom, sister, cousins, aunts, and uncles to see if it would appeal to their various tastes. Surprisingly enough, everyone loved it: from my junk food-loving sister to my athlete cousins, they all asked for more. If you want to know how to make your own version of this granola bar at home, read on for my Aimee Song-inspired recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granola (your choice, but I highly recommend KIND’s Honey Oat Granola Clusters with Toasted Coconut)

  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds

  • ½ tablespoon hemp seed powder (optional -- it doesn't really add to the taste, but I like adding random healthy things to my food)

  • ½ tablespoon cacao powder (I personally use chocolate protein powder, but cacao powder should work as protein powder isn’t something in everyone’s kitchen)

  • ¼ cup agave nectar or maple syrup

  • ⅛ cup any sticky fruity substance (Aimee uses dates, but I used Navitas Organics Superfood Power Snacks in the Cacao Goji flavor since I didn't have dates and this snack has the same sticky texture; raisins would also work!)

  • ⅛ cup shelled pistachios

Instructions:

  1. Add the granola, chia seeds, hemp seed powder, cacao powder, and the agave nectar/maple syrup into a large bowl and mix thoroughly.

  2. Pour and spread the mixture evenly onto parchment paper or aluminum foil (I typically spread the mixture so that its height is around ½ of an inch).

  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake the mixture for 10-15 minutes. Check the oven every once in a while to make sure it isn’t burning -- I noticed certain brands baked faster than others!

  4. Slice the sticky fruit-like substance into small pieces.

  5. Mash it into the baked mixture and mix thoroughly once again.

  6. Put the shelled pistachios in a small Ziploc bag and crush the pistachios with a meat mallet or any hard tool.

  7. Transfer the baked mixture into a glass tray or container, and make sure to pour and spread evenly into a rectangular shape (again, a height of ½-1 inch would be ideal as anything thicker would make it hard to eat).

  8. Sprinkle the crushed pistachios on top of the bar.

  9. Freeze for one hour -- Aimee covers her tray with plastic wrap, but I found it worked just fine without the extra plastic.

  10. Enjoy.

Other optional additions include coconut shavings, chocolate chips, and/or cinnamon for that nostalgic holiday taste. You can even melt some chocolate, dip the bar into the chocolate, and freeze it for a richer treat (the bar itself is made out of pretty healthy ingredients, including a few superfoods, so no need to feel guilty!). Like I did with Aimee’s recipe, you can alter this recipe to match your own taste and use whatever ingredients you have in your own kitchen.

We hope that you enjoyed reading this recipe and have inspired you to try it out for yourself!

Images courtesy of Song of Style and Jamie Kim.