Homemade Granola Bars

I’ve got granola bars in the oven to send with Matt on his 65 mile hike this weekend.  I am pretty sure by the end of the three days, he will loathe the sight of “snack foods,” but I hope during the hike, he will be reminded of the sweetness of home when he has these granola bars for breakfast.  We don’t spend many days apart.  We are each others’ favorite thing.  I would honestly rather be doing nothing with him than doing something with someone else.  Like eating granola bars.

This recipe is easy and wonderfully adaptable.  Take a gander:

Chewy Granola Bars

Makes: 16ish bars, depending on the cut

Ingredients:

4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup AP flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
12 tbs butter (1.5 sticks – melted.  It’s a lot of dry ingredients, don’t panic)
3/4 cup honey (I warm it up in the microwave slightly to be easily mixed)
2 cups of mix-ins.  Whatever you prefer.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325

Mix all the dry ingredients together.   Add the vanilla, melted butter and honey and mix well.  This part takes some dedication – I think the best thing to use is a wooden spoon.  It’s just a lot of dry ingredients and it needs to be mixed pretty thoroughly.  After well incorporated and no super sandy oats are left at the bottom of the bowl (they lurk – dig for them), mix in whatever you love the most.  I typically use dried fruits.  For this batch, I used dried prunes, apricots, blueberries, cherries and cranberries (all dry – I think fresh berries would be too wet.)  Two cups’ worth.  I dump the fruit in and mix it all up with my hands.  I like touching my food.  However, you could substitute one of the cups of mix-ins with a cup of dark chocolate chips or cashews or toasted coconut – the options are really endless.

Press mixture into a greased, 9×13″ pan.  I press it down pretty firmly so I can have more solid bars.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown on top.  Let cool COMPLETELY before cutting, or they will crumble apart.  I  dumped a bunch of dark chocolate chips on top of the bars as soon as they came out of the oven and once the chips melted, I spread it around to make a smooth topping.  The chocolate firms up when cooled and you have an awesome chocolately top layer on your granola bars and at least two or three more people who like you better than before you let them try one.

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