Fruit and Nut Granola Bars

 

This is my first attempt at homemade granola bars and I had no idea how easy it was to make your own! I definitely won’t be going back to the boxed ones. Healthy, portable, and delicious granola bars packed with almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, blueberries, cranberries, and raisins. They are the perfect for an on the go breakfast or a long fall hike. The perfect weekend for me is going to Turkey Run or Hocking Hills with my husband and two dogs. We always pack a portable lunch and snacks to have while on our hikes. Granola bars are always included. It wasn’t until two weekends ago while we were on a hike at Turkey Run that I thought to myself, why haven’t I tried to make these before? So when we got home I searched for the perfect recipe and tweaked it to include my favorite dried fruits and nuts. Give these a try and let me know what you think, I bet you will agree they are the best homemade granola bars ever! :)

Fruit and Nut Granola Bars

Yield: 12 to 16 bars

Ingredients:

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup pistachios
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, loosely packed
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
3/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up the two short sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends.
In a medium bowl, combine oatmeal, almonds, and coconut. Spread onto 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 and sunflower kernels.
Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt to a boil. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the blueberries, raisins, and cranberries and stir well.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Using a small piece of parchment paper, press mixture evenly into pan; Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into rectangles. Serve at room temperature.

Source:adapted from Barefoot Contessa