Ina Garten’s Granola Bars, No Preservatives and Full of Flavor, Much Better Than Store Bought

Who knew granola bars were so easy to make? I wanted to start a business with this recipe.  These granola bars are full of flavor and are a hit with anyone who tastes them. The best thing is there are no funky ingredients or preservatives.  I made these for Christmas presents and wrapped a dozen bars in a cello bag.  The recipients LOVED them!  The great thing about this recipe is you can put in whatever dried fruits or nuts you like, I don’t think I ever made them with dates as the recipe states. My most popular version was the almond/raisin and macadamia/sunflower seed/sesame seed /dried pineapple/dried papaya.

My tips:

  • Use a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper
  • Watch your toasted oats, germ, and coconut so that it does not burn
  • Substitute your favorite dried fruits or nuts by adding according to the ratios in the recipe: 1 cup nuts and 1 to 1 1/2 cups of dried fruit depending on how sweet you want it to be, I usually use just shy of one cup dried fruit.
  • Allow the bars cool down completely as recipe states or they will break apart
  • purchase large bottles of honey from Costco to save a little extra money on ingredients

Here is the recipe:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/homemade-granola-bars-recipe/index.html click on this link or see the copy and pasted recipe below:

Ingredients
  • 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
Directions

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.

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