Posted by: Deana | November 9, 2009

Granola Bars

I recently found a wonderful granola bar recipe.  We’ve enjoyed loose granola quite a lot recently and have found room in our hearts to embrace some delicious homemade granola bars too.

I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, and we’ve shared some of our granola bars with several people now and they’ve been thoroughly enjoyed by all.  (I used her suggestion, and took some with us recently when were were house guests)

Both times I’ve made these, I doubled the recipe, and I’ve found that they hold together the best when the entire doubled recipe is baked in a 9×13 dish.

Granola Bars

Makes 12 to 16 granola bars

  • (4) 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • ( 2) 1 cup sliced almonds
  • ( 2) 1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed (I used unsweetened)
    • I already had sweetened coconut, so that’s what I used, but I think it would be better with unsweetened coconut; it seemed a little too sweet for my taste.
  • (1) 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
  • (1 1/3) 2/3 cup honey
  • (3) 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (my teaspoons were a little overflowing)
  • (1/2) 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • (2) 1 1/2 cup dried fruit, or a mix of dried fruit (I used chopped apricots, cranberries and raisins) (I know 2 is not 1 1/2 doubled, but the first time I put in three cups, the granola was very sweet and didn’t hold together at all.  The second time, I put in less fruit and the bars held together and it was still plenty sweet for us.)
  • (2) 1 tablespoon flax seed (this wasn’t in the recipe, but since it’s so good for you, I threw in a little more than two tablespoons of flax seed for a doubled recipe.)

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter an 8×12-inch baking dish (lacking this, I used a 9×13-inch) and line it with parchment paper. (I didn’t have parchment paper, so I just used a buttered dish and it worked fine.)

Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. (Both times it took closer to 20-30 minutes in our oven.) Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.

While the mixture is still warm, stir in the honey, vanilla and salt until the mixture is well coated, then the dried fruit. Pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish and press, press, press it in (wet fingers and/or a silicon spatula work great for this) until the mixture is packed as tightly as possible.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for 2 to 3 hours (I let it sit overnight) before cutting into squares — your best serrated knife is great for this.

You can store these in an airtight container at room temperature for a week or two, as you would cookies, however, I prefer to store mine in the freezer. I find that they stay the most crisp this way as all granola tends to soften at room temperature after a day or more.

Smitten Kitchen did not include 1/4 cup brown sugar (not needed at all, in our opinion) and 3 tablespoons of melted butter, which were in the original recipe that she was using.

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