Looking for healthy lunchtime or after-school snacks without the extra additives and expense? Make your own homemade granola bars with this popular recipe — inspired by Ina Garten’s recipe — featured at seminars and events at Sharp Grossmont Hospital.
Homemade Granola Bars
Yields 12 to 16 bars
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, loosely packed (optional)
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey or unrefined sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates or figs
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots or blueberries
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
Heat oven to 350° F. Butter an 8x12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper. Toss oats, almonds 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; stir in wheat germ.
Reduce oven temperature to 300° F. Place butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for 1 minute, then pour over the toasted oats mixture.
Add fruits and stir well. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers with water and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.