packaged granola bars? no way…

The irony of packaged “healthy foods” never sneaks by me.  Let me get this straight… a healthy granola bar… that is packaged and stocked in a store… having a shelf life that likely doubles what my “shelf” life is.  I would continue to try to figure it out, but it’s been a long day and I would much prefer to proceed with telling you just how scrumptious these homemade granola bars are.  A few simple ingredients, a quick bake in the oven and you are left with fresh granola bars that are sweet with delicious organic honey, fruits (of your choice) and full of oats to keep you satisfied for a long while during your hectic days.

Not to mention, it always feels better to hand your kiddies breakfast, or snacks, that you personally wrapped in parchment paper rather than those weird metallic wrappers that just scream “suuuugar” as you tear from the top.

Ingredients

      2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
      1 cup sliced almonds
      1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
      1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
      3 tablespoons unsalted butter
      2/3 cup honey
      1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
      1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
      1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
      1/2 cup chopped pitted dates*
      1/2 cup chopped dried apricots*
      1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.
  2. Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
  3. Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries and stir well.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.

*I left these ingredients out.  Feel free to add any type of dried fruit you like.

Experiment a little.  Try:

  • a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg
  • use ground flax seed in place of wheat germ (or mix the two)

RECIPE CREDIT: http://www.barefootcontessa.com/recipes.aspx?RecipeID=153&S=0

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