Granola Bars

From September 16, 2005:  i’ve been searching for things to make to pack in my son’s (a very, very, very, picky eater) lunch.  i made these today.  well, my son wouldn’t eat them, but my hubby and i thought they were pretty yummy.  these granola bars are crispy (not chewy), just the way i like them.

as always, i made a few changes to this recipe.  i just realized now that i totally forgot to put in the almonds (dang, those would have been good).  i added about 3 tablespoons of ground flax seed at the time i combined the sugar mixture with the toasted oats mixture.  i also added 1/2 cup of chocolate chips (instead of dried fruit) and they got all melted and so i ended up with chocolate granola bars.  i have no complaints, though. : )  next time i will try them without the chocolate chips and add dried cherries instead.

Granola Bars
Makes 16 (2-inch) squares.

8 oz. old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 oz. raw sunflower seeds
3 oz. sliced almonds
1 1/2 oz. wheat germ
6 oz. honey
1 3/4 oz. dark brown sugar
1 oz. unsalted butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
6 1/2 oz. dried fruit

Butter 9×9-inch glass baking dish; set aside. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread oats (about 2 cups), sunflower seeds (about 1/2 cup), almonds (about 1 cup) and wheat germ (about 1/2 cup) onto half-sheet pan.  Place in oven and toast 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in medium saucepan, combine honey (about 1/2 cup), brown sugar, butter, vanilla extract and salt. Cook until brown sugar (about 1/4 cup packed) has dissolved completely. Once oat mixture is done, remove it from oven; reduce heat to 300 degrees. Immediately add oat mixture to liquid mixture, add chopped dried fruit (any combination of apricots, cherries or blueberries); stir to combine.  Turn mixture out into prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing mixture in dish; bake 25 minutes. Remove from oven; allow to cool completely. Cut into squares and store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

Recipe Source:  Food Network’s “Good Eats” and Alton Brown.

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