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Fairly Decent Granola Bars

by on August 3, 2011 · 14 comments

Next time you have half a can of condensed milk to use up, consider this recipe. I tried it yesterday, and while the granola bars were not my personal favorite, they weren’t awful. They taste better today, plus close to 462 people thought they were really swell.  It’s probably just me, but I thought the condensed milk flavor was kind of strong and not as pleasant as it is in Hello Dollies, Dulce de Leche, Key Lime Pie and Macaroons.

I did change things a bit from the original, but not to the extent those changes would make the condensed milk flavor more prominent.  This is the half batch 8 inch pan version which I suggest you try before committing a whole can of condensed milk to this recipe.

granola bars

Condensed Milk Granola Bars

1 tablespoon butter
7 oz (weighed on a scale, so a little less than half cup) condensed milk
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup Rice Krispies cereal
1 1/2 cups assorted nuts, raisins and chocolate chips
1/4 cup marshmallows and dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 inch square pan with non-stick foil.
In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. Stir in the condensed milk, oats, cereal and all the nuts and fruit. Press down tightly and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool for about 20 minutes, then lift from pan and score while warm, then let cool completely.

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Published on August 3, 2011

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue August 3, 2011 at 12:27 pm

“…..they weren’t awful.” Now there’s an endorsement for the recipe. ;-) LOL!! Just had to kid you about that line. :-)

Rina August 3, 2011 at 12:44 pm

I have tried this recipe before as well and completely agree that the condensed milk flavor is a bit too prominent. Still searching for a go-to recipe for granola bars. Sigh.

Louise August 3, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I run as fast as I can from any recipe that calls for condensed milk. The only exception is dulce de leche, and I frequently buy Nestle brand so I don’t have to make it myself.

stephanie August 3, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Perhaps adding some cinnamon and nutmeg might help with the flavour?

Shannon August 3, 2011 at 2:42 pm

@Rina – this is my go-to recipe for granola bars: http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/02/thick-chewy-granola-bars/

I reduce the butter down to 4 TBSP and sub oat bran for the oat flour. These are great with Craisins, peanuts, and coconut. And I think somewhat healthy… they have to be healthier than condensed milk :)

Anna August 3, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Rina, have you tried the recipe from King Arthur? It’s called Vermont Granola Bars. I like that one, but it does involve using a candy thermometer and sometimes I just don’t feel like dealing with that.

Louise, speaking of King Arthur, in their Cookie Companion they have a Hello Dolly recipe that does not call for condensed milk. I don’t think I’ve tried it yet. Anyway, I like it in all the things mentioned above, but it wasn’t good in the bars.

Stephanie, those are good tips.

Shannon, thanks for the link. I’ll try making my own version of whatever she did.

Katrina August 3, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Here are some granola bars I made a few years ago. At that time, I made them quite a few times with different add-ins. I like that they have lots of healthy things and some added protein (and they’d still probably work without the added protein powder). Makes me want to make them again!

http://www.bakingandboys.com/2009/04/high-octane-energy-bars-and-giveaway.html

Sue August 3, 2011 at 3:45 pm

I’ve been thinking of making some granola bars lately. Here’s a link to a recipe I’ve made and liked a lot. http://basicallybaked.wordpress.com/2009/07/23/chewy-granola-bars/

briarrose August 3, 2011 at 5:20 pm

The condensed milk is kind of a surprise to see in granola bars…not a bad ingredient to use in a pinch.

Louise August 3, 2011 at 7:19 pm

I think the KA Granola Bars with Raspberry Jammy Bits sound tasty, except they call for the KA products Sticky Bun Sugar and Raspberry Jammy Bits. I think that dried cranberries or cherries might fill in for the jammy bits, but I’ve never seen the KA sticky bun sugar so I’m not sure what would substitute for that magical product. I make some darned good sticky buns, so maybe someday when I’m feeling creative I’ll have a go at it.

Adam August 3, 2011 at 7:47 pm

I attempted my first granola bar this past weekend, and it didn’t end up working as bars, but it made some wonderfully tasty granola pieces :). I have a tendency to shy away from anything with condensed milk since I like to control sugar content. Would it be worth trying this with maybe evaporated milk and honey? And great title Anna, I was chuckling even before I clicked the link.

Anna August 3, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Adam, I had the same thing happen to me when I tried one of Alton Brown’s recipes. He has a good protein bar recipe, but his granola bar crumbled on me. I’m still trying to figure out what went wrong.

Louise, this is the KA granola bar I’m talking about.
http://www.cookiemadness.net/2006/07/vermont-granola-barsaka-trail-mix-bars/

Mackenzie@The Caramel Cookie August 5, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Never heard of using condensed milk for granola bars….interesting….

Meredith August 16, 2011 at 10:47 am

My old-standby recipe:

Boil 1c Karo syrup for 1 minute.
Add 1c peanut butter. Mix well.
Add 1lb granola cereal. Mix well.

Pat into 9×13″ pan.

Cover with one bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Put in low oven until chips are glossy and spreadable.

Cool. Cut. Enjoy.

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