Granola Bars

06bGranolaCutbfLOWe were visiting my sister for an extended weekend and, mindful of all of us trying to eat (at least a little bit) healthier, she forewent her traditional morning sideboard groaning with croissant, danish, and other pastry treats in favor of this home made granola, the recipe courtesy of one of both of our favorites, the barefoot contessa.

Dale fretted that her bars were a bit on the crumbly side, but that didn’t matter to us, the granola, in bar or crumble form, was totally fine!

01aOatsCoconutNutsbfLOUpon returning home, I knew we’d need to have a batch or three ready for the odd munchie attack (there are just so many graham crackers one can eat in a day), and picked up a few ingredients to complete my pantry needs. I did swap out dried cherries for the contessa’s dried cranberries, but otherwise kept the recipe the same.

•2 cups oatmeal (not quick-oats)
•1 cup sliced almonds
•1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
•1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
•3 tbsp unsalted butter
•2/3 cup honey
•1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
•1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
•1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
•1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
•1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
•1/2 cup dried cherries

03aOatsToastedWhGermbfLOHeat the oven to 350º, butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish, then line the bottom with parchment paper.

Stir the oatmeal together with the coconut and sliced almonds (I used my kinda huge anodized roasting pan, which kept the clean-up to a minimum).

Bake for ten minutes, stirring after five minutes, until the mixture is lightly browned.

03bAddButterHoneybfLORemove from the oven, reset the temperature to 300º, stir the wheat germ into the toasted oat mixture, and set aside.

Melt the butter with the brown sugar, salt, and honey in a small pot over  medium heat, stirring often.

Bring to a boil for one minute, still stirring, then pour over the oat mixture in the roasting pan.

05aBakingPanbfLOAdd the chopped dried fruit and stir to mix well.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared 8×12 pan, pat the top down with moistened fingertips to press the granola into the pan evenly, then pop into the 300º and bake for 25 or 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool for three hours before removing from the pan and cutting into bars.

06aGranolaBakedbfLOMine were almost as crumbly as my sister’s, but oh! so good! Rich and I have been enjoying it almost as much as the friendly local contractor we had around to knock around some walls and replace a few doors. I have to say, he did very good work, and we were more than happy to send him off with a bag of granola bars as a little sumpin’ sumpin’ extra to go along with the check for his long day’s labor on a Saturday.

These bars will keep about a week in an air-tight container, tho’ the stored moisture in the dried fruit will seep into the rest of the granola and make them just a bit gooier – but no less really, really good.

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