It's almost as confusing as the yogurt section of the grocery store. You can sit there all day comparing the labels (like we're not busy enough), and getting nowhere with it... It's no wonder people are confused and don't know what to eat. Anyways, that's for another blog post.
I have realized in the last couple of years that I really don't like store-bought granola bars. In fact, I find them quite expensive and well, they don't taste good, at all!
I do, however, love the chewiness of oats combined with a warm spice like cinnamon, crunchy toasted nuts and seeds, and the sweetness of dried fruit and honey to tie it all together. So I started making my own, and here's how I make them:
Pecan Granola Bars
Makes: 24 bars
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup pecans, chopped (you can use other nuts you have on hand)
2 cups of chopped dried fruit (I used raisins and cranberries)
1 cup whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 lb (1 stick) butter unsalted, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a 13x9-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, coconut, pecans, and dried fruit. In a separate small bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
In a large bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, and honey. Using an electric mixer beat until light and fluffy, and then add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat until all is combined. Gradually add the flour mixture. Add oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
Press the mixture evenly into the baking dish. Bake until the top is golden and the edges are lightly brown, about 25 minutes.
The bars will be very soft straight out of the oven but will firm up as they cool. Cool completely on wire rack then cut into bars.
* They will keep up to 10 days stored at room temperature in air tight container. Or freeze some for a rainy day.
Photography by: Melissa LeBlanc