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I make a mean granola. It's full of inclusions (dried fruit, seeds, nuts) and oats, rice crisps, etc. I bind it all together with oil, sugar and honey.

I want to reduce the sugar content of my granola, but when I do so, it turns more into a muesli where it's all kinda free-flowing instead of having irregular sized chunks/sheets that I can break up.

I understand why reducing sugar has this effect, but what else can I do to make and give me those larger binded pieces?

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    Do you want to reduce the sweetness? Or are you trying to eliminate refined sugar? What is your reason for reducing the sugar? – moscafj Sep 25 '17 at 18:54
  • I'd like to reduce the sugar to reduce the sugar. I'm open to any suggestions whether that means altering the flavor with a reduction in sugar or using unrefined sugars or what not. GOAL : LESS SUGAR – StevenXavier Sep 25 '17 at 19:04
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    Nevermind. I'm gonna try egg whites to help bind. – StevenXavier Sep 25 '17 at 20:09
  • A nice strong Agar solution might work better than egg whites. You're baking this, right? – Wayfaring Stranger Sep 25 '17 at 23:08
  • I have successfully used lower-sweetness sugars like dextrose. You get a similar texture effect, but it doesn't taste as sweet. (It has the same number of calories.) – Joshua Engel Sep 26 '17 at 14:27
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One good method that can help you get solid results is grinding some of the oats in your recipe into oat flour.

Grinding the oats allows the starches in the oats to absorb liquids, which then swell and solidify when baked. This is the same way that all cookies and the like get their solidity, by starches that set.

My suggestion is to take a portion of the oats that you are using in the recipe and grind it in the food processor until it resembles coarse flour. After mixing together your wet ingredients (oil, sugar, honey), add the oat flour and mix well before adding in your inclusions (whole oats, nuts, dried fruit, etc).

In addition, don't stir during baking, as this will allow the clusters to form better.

I personally make granola bars with this method, and they come out quite good.

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I have a technique to suggest that doesn't involve altering any recipe. I believe this will work with higher hydration (with your egg white idea), or with your current recipe.

After you've laid the cereal-caramel mix onto your oven pan, and it's still soft (and maybe warm if you lightly cooked your sugar mixture), take a long kitchen knife and oil it on both sides with vegetable oil. Slice and create divisions all over your pan as desired, even using a T-square for uniformity. Bake this off. Experiment with cooking times to make sure the top is sufficiently hardened and caramelized, so you can easily take each piece out as bars, after they've cooled.

In addition, some granola bar recipes simply call for refrigerating mixtures and slicing after chilling overnight. This really just lets moisture present in the mixture penetrate oatmeal to release starches, along with the setting of the caramel, making for a soft and non-hardened granola bar that won't break your teeth!

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