On my search for a (somewhat) less sugary granola bar to keep on hand I finally realized that I should probably just make them myself. The following recipe is an amalgamation of recipes I found on various websites and subsequently altered to fit my honey-only sweetener needs (chocolate chips being the welcome exception to the rule). There really are no rules for this one, I’ve done almonds, dried cherries, and sesame seeds, with and without extra spices, I’ve used raisins, cranberries and this week I chose dried apricots, shredded coconut, almonds, and chocolate chips. I could also easily see this being adapted into a homemade candy bar; I’m imagining crushed candy-canes, chocolate chucks and marshmallows, or possibly substituting part or all of the honey for molasses and doing a gingerbread version (clearly I have Christmas on the mind).
Makes 12 bars
2 1/2 C. Old-fashioned Oats
1/2 C. Coarsely Chopped Nuts (in this batch I used almonds)
1/4 C. Unsalted butter
1/2 C. Honey
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 C. Coarsely Chopped Dried Fruit (apricots)
1/4 C. Chocolate chips (not exactly necessary, but does help to keep things together)
Additional fillings, spices, or toppings as desired (1/8 C. unsweetened coconut for the inside and another sprinkling for the top)
Pre-heat oven to 350^
Chop your nuts and place them together with the oats on a small cookie sheet and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Stir, and toast again for another 5 minutes.
Melt butter, honey, salt, and vanilla in small saucepan, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until butter is fully melted and a light simmer has been achieved (I keep my unsalted butter in the freezer, so usually the saucepan mixture is ready around the same time as the oats and nuts are getting out of the oven the second time).
In glass or metal mixing bowl, stir together hot ingredients.
Chop dried fruit and add to mixture with chocolate chips and any other extras after the mixture has been allowed to cool slightly (about 5 minutes). chocolate chips will most likely melt a bit, but this will help your bars stay together better.
Line the small baking sheet you used earlier with a piece cling-wrap and evenly place your mixture onto half of the pan, fold the other half of the cling-wrap over the top of your bars and pack the mixture as tightly and evenly as possible, lift cling-wrap and sprinkle any toppings, and then press again.
Let chill in fridge 2 hours and then cut into twelve even bars. You can store in the fridge, or just in an airtight container depending on your preference (I usually choose the fridge).