Copycat Nature Valley Granola Bars Recipe

by Chef Adel
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Copycat Nature Valley Granola Bars Recipe

Venturing into the delightful and nourishing world of homemade snacks, I recently tried to recreate one of my all-time favorite munchies – Nature Valley Granola Bars. Ah, the sheer joy of biting into a perfectly crunchy yet tender granola bar, loaded with the goodness of oats, nuts, and honey, is simply unparalleled. The thought alone is enough to make one’s mouth water! Inspired by these iconic snacks that have accompanied so many of my outdoor adventures, camping trips, and mid-afternoon slumps, I decided it was time to bring the essence of Nature’s Valley into my very own kitchen.

Table of Contents

How to make Nature Valley Granola Bars

Nature Valley Granola Bars are a popular brand of snack bars produced by General Mills. They are known for their crunchy texture and are made primarily from whole-grain oats and various ingredients like nuts, seeds, honey, and sometimes chocolate or dried fruit.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup crisp rice cereal
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (almonds, peanuts, or walnuts work well)
  • 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips or dried fruit (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare Baking Pan: Line an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing some overhang for easy removal of the bars later.
  2. Mix Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the quick-cooking oats, crisp rice cereal, shredded coconut, and chopped nuts. Mix them well, ensuring they are evenly distributed.
  3. Cook Honey Mixture: In a small saucepan, combine the honey (or maple syrup), brown sugar, and salt. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until the brown sugar has completely dissolved. Let it simmer for a few minutes without stirring, then remove from heat.
  4. Combine Wet and Dry: Add the peanut butter and vanilla extract to the honey and sugar mixture and stir until smooth. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until they are all coated and well combined.
  5. Add Optional Ingredients: If you are including chocolate chips or dried fruit, let the mixture cool slightly before adding them to prevent them from melting or losing their texture.
  6. Press into Pan: Transfer the granola mixture to the prepared pan. Press the mixture down firmly to compact it as much as possible. This will help the bars stick together after they cool. You can use the bottom of a glass or measuring cup to press down evenly.
  7. Chill and Set: Refrigerate the pan for at least an hour or until the mixture is set.
  8. Cut the Bars: Lift the chilled granola slab out of the pan using the overlaying parchment paper. Place it on a cutting board and slice it into bars or squares with a sharp knife.
  9. Storage: Store the bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week or in the refrigerator for a longer shelf life.

Tips for Perfect Nature Valley Granola Bars:

  • For a crunchier bar, bake the pressed granola mixture in a 325°F (163°C) oven for about 20-25 minutes before cooling and cutting it.
  • Getting the right balance of dry to wet ingredients is key. Too much honey and peanut butter mixture will make the bars overly sticky, whereas too little can result in crumbly bars.
  • When pressing the mixture into the pan, do so as firmly as possible. The more compact your bars, the less likely they fall apart.
  • If you prefer a less sweet granola bar, reduce the amount of brown sugar.

What to serve with

Nature Valley Granola Bars, with their crunchy texture and hints of sweetness, are a fantastic standalone snack, but pairing them with complementary foods can take your snack experience to another level. Whether you’re looking for a quick breakfast, a satisfying midday snack, or a more substantial post-workout refuel, there are plenty of options to serve with your homemade granola bars.

Breakfast Combos

  • Yogurt Parfaits: Crumble a Nature Valley Granola Bars over a bowl of Greek yogurt. Add layers of fresh fruit, such as berries, banana slices, or diced peaches for a satisfying, nutrient-rich breakfast.
  • Smoothies: Whip up a smoothie with ingredients like spinach, banana, almond milk, and protein powder. Serve it with a granola bar for added texture and fiber.
  • Fruit Salad: Create a colorful fruit salad with a mix of seasonal fruits. A granola bar on the side can add a lovely crunch to each bite.
  • Coffee or Tea: Simply enjoy your granola bar with a hot cup of coffee or tea as a quick, on-the-go breakfast. The bar’s sweetness will complement the bitter notes of your beverage.

Snacks and Light Meals

  • Cheese Platter: Arrange a selection of cheeses, from sharp cheddar to creamy brie, alongside your granola bars, some apple slices, and a handful of grapes for a delightfully sophisticated snack.
  • Nut Butter Spread: Spread a thin layer of almond butter or peanut butter on your granola bar for additional protein and a creamy texture contrast.
  • Applesauce: Dip your granola bar into a serving of applesauce for a sweet and satisfying snack.
  • Trail Mix: Combine your granola bar pieces with nuts, seeds, and dried fruits to create a homemade trail mix for a nutritious snack on the trail or at your desk.

Post-Workout Refueling

  • Protein Shake: After a workout, enjoy a protein shake alongside your granola bar to help aid in muscle recovery.
  • Chocolate Milk: Pair a granola bar with a glass of chocolate milk for a combination of protein, carbohydrates, and a touch of indulgence.
  • Hard-Boiled Eggs: For a boost of protein, serve hard-boiled eggs along with your granola bar, offering a balance of macronutrients to refuel.

Dessert

  • Ice Cream: Crumble your granola bar over a scoop of your favorite ice cream for an easy dessert with added texture and flavor.
  • Pudding or Mousse: Top a chocolate or vanilla pudding or mousse with granola bar crumbles for a crunchy contrast to the creamy dessert.
  • Fruit Compote: Serve a warm fruit compote with a side of granola bars for a rustic, comforting dessert.

Beverages

  • Milk or Alternative Milk: Enjoy your granola bar with a glass of milk, almond milk, or soy milk for a classic pairing.
  • Fruit Juice: Sip on a glass of cold fruit juice with your granola bar for a refreshing snack, perfect for a warm day.

Ingredients Substitutes

Granola Bars

Creating a homemade version of Nature Valley Granola Bars allows for flexibility with ingredients, allowing you to tailor the recipe to your dietary preferences and what you have in your pantry. Here are detailed ingredient substitutes you can consider when making granola bars:

Oats

Substitute: If you don’t have quick-cooking oats, you can substitute with old-fashioned rolled oats for a chewier texture. Avoid using instant oats, as they can become too mushy.

Crisp Rice Cereal

Substitute: Puffed quinoa, puffed millet, or any other puffed grain can be used as a substitute for crisp rice cereal to provide a similar light and airy texture.

Shredded Coconut

Substitute: If you’re not a fan of coconut or are allergic, you can simply omit it or replace it with additional nuts or dry ingredients to maintain the bar’s structure.

Nuts

Substitute: Almost any nut can replace the recommended almonds, peanuts, or walnuts. Try pecans, cashews, or pistachios. For nut allergies, seeds like pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds can be a good alternative.

Honey or Maple Syrup

Substitute: If you don’t have honey, you can use maple syrup, agave nectar, or rice malt syrup. Be aware that substituting with a less viscous liquid sweetener can affect the bars’ ability to hold together.

Brown Sugar

Substitute: Coconut sugar or a sugar-free substitute like monk fruit sweetener can replace brown sugar. These substitutions might change the flavor slightly.

Salt

Substitute: Salt is an essential flavor enhancer in sweet recipes, but if you need to watch your sodium intake, you can opt for reduced-sodium salt alternatives.

Peanut Butter or Almond Butter

Substitute: Any nut butter, such as cashew butter or sunflower seed butter, can be used. For a nut-free option, try using tahini or soy nut butter.

Vanilla Extract

Substitute: Almond extract can be a good alternative for a different flavor profile or simply omit it if you don’t have it on hand.

Mini Chocolate Chips or Dried Fruit

Substitute: Feel free to replace chocolate chips with any kind of dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, or chopped apricots. For a different flavor, use seeds such as chia, flax, or hemp seeds.

Final Thoughts

By following this recipe and tips, you’ll be able to whip up a batch of granola bars that not only remind you of Nature’s Valley but also carry a signature homemade charm. Whether it’s for a quick breakfast on the go, an afternoon pick-me-up, or a nourishing snack on a hike, these Nature Valley granola bars are guaranteed to satisfy your cravings in the most natural and wholesome way.

More Granola Recipe:

Copycat Nature Valley Granola Bars Recipe

Nature Valley Granola Bars

Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 190 calories 1 gram fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )

Ingredients

  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup crisp rice cereal
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (almonds, peanuts, or walnuts work well)
  • 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips or dried fruit (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare Baking Pan: Line an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing some overhang for easy removal of the bars later.
  2. Mix Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the quick-cooking oats, crisp rice cereal, shredded coconut, and chopped nuts. Mix them well, ensuring they are evenly distributed.
  3. Cook Honey Mixture: In a small saucepan, combine the honey (or maple syrup), brown sugar, and salt. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until the brown sugar has completely dissolved. Let it simmer for a few minutes without stirring, then remove from heat.
  4. Combine Wet and Dry: Add the peanut butter and vanilla extract to the honey and sugar mixture and stir until smooth. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until they are all coated and well combined.
  5. Add Optional Ingredients: If you are including chocolate chips or dried fruit, let the mixture cool slightly before adding them to prevent them from melting or losing their texture.
  6. Press into Pan: Transfer the granola mixture to the prepared pan. Press the mixture down firmly to compact it as much as possible. This will help the bars stick together after they cool. You can use the bottom of a glass or measuring cup to press down evenly.
  7. Chill and Set: Refrigerate the pan for at least an hour or until the mixture is set.
  8. Cut the Bars: Lift the chilled granola slab out of the pan using the overlaying parchment paper. Place it on a cutting board and slice it into bars or squares with a sharp knife.
  9. Storage: Store the bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week or in the refrigerator for a longer shelf life.

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