Don’t let the name throw you off: these granola bars are the perfect snack and are delightfully sweet. This recipe for granola bars predates the health food trends of recent times. The dish was in print in 1940, which means it could have been in use well before that time.
At its simplest rickety uncle only contains 4 ingredients, but we added a few extras to this recipe for better flavor and texture. The original 1940s recipe only called for oats, brown sugar, butter, and a very scant amount of vanilla.
To make the updated version of this recipe start by melting butter in the microwave and to that adding brown sugar, vanilla, honey and cinnamon. Mix this well and combine with oats and nuts or dried fruit. We added chopped dried cherries for our version, but you can add dried sultanas, raisins, or dried blueberries. All of them make excellent choices for these bars.
You can also add nuts if you wish or pumpkin or sunflower seeds (or even dried coconut). The varieties of bars you can make is endless, but the base recipe remains the same regardless of which “extras” you add in. It’s also extremely easy to make these bars vegan by simply using margarine or vegan butter spread (Like Earth Balance) instead.
We added honey to this recipe so that it would be a little bit chewy. The original may have gotten its name from the fact that without much moisture in the recipe the bars you make will fall apart (and be rickety) and crunchy rather than be a bit chewy. If you prefer the drier type of granola bar, simply replace the honey with an equal amount of brown sugar.
Once you have your mix all ready pack it into a greased and lined 9″x13″ pan and make sure its level. Leave plenty of overhang with your parchment paper so that you can simply lift the whole thing out of the pan once it’s done baking.
Bake your oat mix for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before lifting it out and cutting into bars or squares. Do not wait until the oats cool off completely or else it will be much harder to cut.
These tasty rickety uncle granola bars are a wonderful change of pace from store-bought and they’re so easy to make. You might never go back to commercial granola bars again!
Makes 10-12 bars
10m prep time
30m cook time
Vegetarian diet suitable
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 4 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup dried fruit, seeds, nuts, or coconut (optional)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x12 or 9”x13” pan lined with parchment paper with some overhand to life the bars out with.
- Heat butter in microwave until just melted in heat-safe bowl. Add in brown sugar, vanilla, honey and cinnamon. Add in nuts or fruit at this point if desired. Mix this well.
- Add oats to a large bowl. Pour wet ingredients over the top and mix well. Pour into pan and press down flat so that the oat mixture is the same thickness throughout.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before lifting the bars from the pan. While still warm cut into 2” square bars. Do not allow to cool completely before cutting or else bars will be more difficult to cut.
Recipe adapted from Nana’s Best Recipes.