I don't really like granola bars. And though I do love cookies and cake, I don't like the food I eat on a regular basis to be too sweet. That includes muffins, granola bars, cereal, oatmeal, jam, and whatever else might have lots of sugar. So why did I make these if I don't like granola bars? I made them for a friend who had been looking for a good granola bar recipe and was happy to hear that she really liked them then made them again herself! I also saved a couple for E and he liked them too. These granola bars are nice and soft and full of lots of good stuff.
If this sounds good, you might also like:
Caramel Walnut Chocolate Chunk Granola
Banana Crunch Muffins
Sunny Jungle Bars
Morning Glory Muffins
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen who adapted from Ina Garten
I can't remember if I added 1/4 cup brown sugar or not to these but I don't think I did.
Makes 12 to 16 granola bars
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, loosely packed
1/2 cup wheat germ
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup dried fruit, or a mix of dried fruit (I used chopped apricots, cranberries and raisins)
Preheat your oven to 350F. Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish or line it with parchment paper.
Toss the oatmeal, walnuts, 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 300F.
While the mixture is still warm, stir in the butter, honey, vanilla and salt until the mixture is well coated, then the dried fruit. Pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish and press, press, press it in (wet fingers and/or a silicon spatula work great for this) until the mixture is packed as tightly as possible.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares — your best serrated knife is great for this.
You can store these in an airtight container at room temperature for a week or two, as you would cookies.