A few weeks ago I was at the grocery store picking up some cheerios for our one year old in the cereal aisle, and I spotted some limited edition Sunbelt apple spice and Sunbelt pumpkin spice granola bars. They were only $2 a box, but I really thought spending $4 on granola bars was a little spendy. I’m super cheap. I stood there for, like, 10 minutes trying to decide which ones I wanted. In the end I settled on the apple spice granola bars.
Then a couple of weeks later I went grocery shopping again with the intention to pick up another box, because we loved them so much, and they were gone! Talk about a limited edition. Sheesh. I didn’t even get to try the pumpkin ones! I am sure I could go to another store, but these kids of mine can really only handle so much grocery shopping at once. You know, temper tantrums and things.
And well, you know me (or maybe you don’t). When I can’t find something I want at the grocery store, and I don’t have the time or patience to find it somewhere else, I make it! These apple spice granola bars are a treat. They’re seriously drool worthy, and so much better than their store-bought counterparts.
They’re crispy, crunchy, soft, chewy, and loaded with cinnamon and apple flavor. The cinnamon chip drizzle is optional, but highly recommended! I also really recommend using a candy thermometer or an instant read thermometer for this recipe. If you don’t boil the sugar and honey mixture for long enough, your granola bars will fall apart much easier (they won’t stick together like they should). On the opposite side of the spectrum if you boil it for too long you’ll end up with granola bars that will make your jaw hurt when you chew on them. I heat the mixture to between 235-240˚F, and that’s the perfect temp in my opinion (you’re basically heating the sugar mixture to soft-ball stage).
- 6 tbsp salted butter, cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups plain granola*
- 1 cup crisp rice cereal
- 1/2 cup apple chips, crushed into small pieces (measure after crushing)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped dry roasted unsalted almonds
- 1/4 cup cinnamon chips (optional, for drizzling)
- Mix the granola, rice cereal, apple chips, and almonds together in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Line an 8×8 pan with a foil sling and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Combine the butter cubes, brown sugar, honey, and cinnamon together in a medium saucepan (2 quarts). Clip a candy thermometer to the pan, and set over medium high heat.
- Bring to a boil stirring constantly.
- Once it comes to a boil stop stirring and let it reach 235-240˚F (soft ball stage). This should take no longer than 60-90 seconds.
- Remove from heat and quickly stir in the vanilla. Pour over the granola mixture, and stir to coat evenly.
- Dump into the prepared pan and quickly press into a compact and even layer. Let bars cool for 1-2 hours or until set.
- Cut into 12 bars. Melt the cinnamon chips in the microwave, and drizzle over the bars if desired.
- These taste best fresh, but you can store leftover bars in an airtight container for up to five days. I’m sure they would also freeze well, individually wrapped in plastic wrap (without the cinnamon chip drizzle)!