Granola Bars

3:07 AM

This is my third attempt at granola bars!  I have been searching for a great tasting granola bar that holds its shape well, and while I really liked the flavor of these, I was still disappointed in how much it crumbles.  The recipe says to make sure you press hard on the granola so it won't turn out crumbly, and I pressed about as hard as I could! I used a 9x13 baking dish, and I have a size smaller dish that I used on top to press it over and over again, and I still have to pack this with a fork for my kids' school lunch, lol.  This time, I used dried apples, peanuts, and a handful of peanut butter chips for a Peanut Butter-Apple granola bar flavor, and it was a hit! I will definitely be using that flavor combo again, but I will have to search yet again for another granola bar recipe that can hold up better.  One day I'll get it right :)

Granola Bars
Yields 12 bars

2 cups oats
3/4 cup wheat germ
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup peanuts, crushed
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
approximately 8 oz. dried fruit

1.  Preheat the oven to 400˚.

2.  Mix the peanuts, oats, wheat germ, and sunflower seeds in a baking dish with sides. Toast them in the oven for 10-12 minutes, stirring every few minutes so that they don’t get burned.

3.  Meanwhile, prepare a glass baking dish (about 11 x 13 inches) for your granola by lining it with waxed paper lightly sprayed with a nonstick spray.

4.  Put the brown sugar, honey, butter, vanilla, and salt into a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.

5.  By now, your grains and nuts should be toasted, so mix everything together in a large bowl. The grains, the liquid “glue,” and the dried fruit.  Mix everything really well because you want to make sure the “glue” gets all over everything. Pour granola mixture into your prepared baking dish.

6.  Spread out the mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula.  Fold over the sides of the waxed paper or add a sheet on top, and press hard all over the granola. You want to compact it together so that your bars won’t fall apart when you cut them.

7.  Wait 2-3 hours or until the granola has totally cooled.

8.  Carefully turn the granola onto a large cutting board, peeling away the wax paper. Now, firmly pressing down with a big knife (not sawing), cut your granola into whatever size bars you’d like.

My tried (and approved!) fixins'!
~White chocolate chips, cherry-flavored Craisins & pumpkin seeds
~Banana chips & chocolate chips
~Dried apples, peanuts & peanut butter chips

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