Wednesday, December 11, 2013

(Mostly) Healthy Granola Bars

So last week, I made some granola bars.  A few got eaten, but the rest went to a friend who is currently climbing a giant mountain, since we're all a little concerned that he might die.  And obviously a granola bar is going to save him.  Duh.

Anyways, these are delicious and pretty easy to make.  You can change it up, depending on what kind of fruit/nuts you have and like.  I used dried apricots and peanuts.  The chocolate chips, however, are completely mandatory - life really isn't worth living without them.

I've tried to make granola bars before and had varying degrees of success.  I think the key is to really go to town on pressing them after you put them in the pan.  That helps them hold together best.  If they crumble, it's fine, they'll still be tasty.

Granola Bars - Inspired by Inspired Taste

2 1/2 Cups Oats
1/2 Cup Chopped Nuts
1/3 Cup Honey
1/4 Cup Butter
1/4 Cup Pack Brown Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Chopped Dried Fruit
1/4-1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips

First, pre-heat the oven to 350.  You're going to toast the oatmeal and maybe the nuts.  The peanuts I used were already dry roasted, so I just did the oatmeal.  Just spread it out over a cookie sheet and let it go for about 5-7 minutes.  Give it a shake halfway through, so it can brown evenly.

Grease a 9x9 square baking pan.  If you don't have one, don't worry, any smallish, shallow pan should work.

Combine the butter, sugar, honey, vanilla, and salt in a small pan and heat until melted and combined.  

Mix with the oatmeal and nuts, then allow to cool for 5 minutes.

After it's cooled a bit, add the fruit and chocolate chips.  It's ok if the chocolate melts a little bit, this will help it stick together a bit more.

Then, transfer into the pan.  Press down on the mixture until even, then press down for a while longer to set it.  I think I did this for about 2 minutes.

Refrigerate for 2 hours before cutting.

I'm boring, so I just cut these into about 14 bars, but if you're so inclined, you could totally make fun shapes. Now that I think about it, I kind of wish I'd done that.

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