Making your own granola bars allows for superior snacking. You can easily customize the size of your bars and the many ways to flavor, but it can be a little tricky to obtain a perfect texture. If you're on Team Chewy Granola Bar, there's one ingredient that can help you in your snacking quest. Do you use it?
The secret to the very best chewy granola bars is brown rice syrup! Emma explains why brown rice syrup is best for granola bars in her guide to how to make granola bars.
Brown rice syrup is special because it is versatile. I've found that you can use it to make both chewy bars and crunchy bars. Its mild flavor also makes a lightly sweet bar that still lets you taste the flavor of the nuts, dried fruits, and spices you are using. I still use other sweeteners like maple syrup for their particular flavors from time to time, but I like to use about half rice syrup in the recipe to make sure I get the texture I want.
Brown rice syrup is especially good for chewy granola bars, because it holds things together so well. It creates the ideal texture. You can substitute maple syrup or honey for brown rice syrup in a recipe, but both can be a little harder to work with.
So, what is brown rice syrup?
Brown rice syrup comes from breaking down the starches of cooked rice, straining the liquid, and then reducing the liquid to create a syrup. It is a natural sweetener that is both vegan and gluten-free.
Because brown rice syrup is made from brown rice, it does have a risk of arsenic contamination. Lundberg, a distributor of organic brown rice syrup, has a great overview of what arsenic is, how it can affect you, and what the FDA recommends (essentially right now you don't need to change your diet).
Where can you buy brown rice syrup?
You can find brown rice syrup in the baking or syrup aisle of your grocery store. You can also find it at many western Chinese grocery stores. If all else fails, and you really want to get your hands on a jar, there is always Amazon.
Do you have any other ingredients that you swear by to make the best chewy granola bars?