Granola bars aren't just for hippies anymore! Not that I have anything against hippies. Or against peace, love, and happiness. Actually, I like all three of those things. Maybe I'm a hippie. But I digress... What I meant to say is that these things are good enough that anyone would love them. I sent some to my grandparents for Christmas (along with a bunch of candy) and they said that the granola was the first to go.
I like this recipe because it is a little bit salty and a little bit sweet. And it is something that you can feel good about eating because there really aren't any bad ingredients. Plus, these bars are easy to pack in your lunch or take with you if you are on the run. A win-win situation!
Here is the recipe, adapted from Ina Garten:
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal 1 cup whole almonds 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 3/4 cup honey 2 Tbsp brown sugar, lightly packed 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 3/4 cup raisins 3/4 cup craisins
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8 x 12 inch baking pan with cooking spray (like Pam). Toss the oatmeal and almonds together and then toast them on a sheet pan by baking them for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When you take the toasted mixture out, reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the toasted wheat germ. Then add in the honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt while it is still warm and mix it all together. It helps to do the mixing with a non-stick spatula, or with a utensil that you have sprayed with cooking spray. Add the raisins and craisins and stir well.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and press the mixture evenly into the pan. And I mean PRESS it because if you don’t then the bars will fall apart. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours at room temperature before cutting into squares.