Every once in a while, a recipe comes along and changes something big in our day to day. This recipe is it for me.
Every mom knows the pull to pick up expensive, processed snacks for their little ones. My mom mostly had fruit and graham crackers for us when I was little, and on days when my kids are begging me for snacks I think how did she do it? (This did lead to some disgusting sugar-craving fueled concoctions. A bag of frozen rasberries and a bag of coconut don’t make for a great snack, just a lifetime aversion to both. Hence why I left it out even though the recipe calls for coconut). But I am still always filling my cart with Nutri-NOT Grain Bars and other expensive empty calories.
Enter homemade granola bars. Seriously habit forming, as nutritious as a bowl of oatmeal. What’s not to love?
These bars are so easy, and they are such a great thing to make with kids – very hands on, messy, and delicious.
This recipe is from Ina Garten, but I made a few kid friendly changes when I made it. I added apricots, cherrys and cranberries, and I used toasted pecans instead of almonds. You can use whatever fruit and nuts you like. I also cooked the butter and honey in the microwave instead of the stove in an easy to pour container:
It made me wonder why do it any other way, especially when it pours into the mixture so well? (Be sure it boils at some point when it is in the microwave).
For a girl who LOVES mixing ingredients together, this was a dream come true…even my son wanted in when it involved mashing something.
SOOO yummy, my husband couldn’t stop eating them. Part of the can’t get enough taste is from toasting the oats and nuts first.
Why do we buy granola bars again?
(adapted from Ina Garten, printer friendly link here).
- 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
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.
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.
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.
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.