Om Nom Nom… Granola Bars!

First of all, I just want to say, “WOW!” these granola bars are awesome!  Now that I’ve tooted my own horn (*toottoot*), let’s get down to business.  How can you make these amazingly delicious and kindasortapretty healthy bars for yourself?  Easily!  This is a totally simple recipe that dirties two bowls, a spatula, and a few measuring utensils.

I’ve talked about Smitten Kitchen here before I believe, and this is another winner from her site.  I modified her original recipe heavily, so I’ll be sharing that below.  (I find this recipe works best when done in a stand mixer, because you can slowly incorporate the liquids into the dry goods so it doesn’t get clumpy.  You could definitely do it by hand if that is your preference.)

Keep in mind that, as usual, I modified on the fly with this recipe and then had to try and remember what I did.  I tend to do a lot of “kitchen sink” type cooking with granola (aka using up stuff I have in the cupboard or fridge).  In this case, I think they turned out the better for it.

The Nomiest Granola Bars

1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats
1/8 cup granulated sugar (I may omit it next time just for grins)
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/8 cup ground flax seed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1 to 1 1/2 cups unsalted mixed nuts, chopped or broken into pieces
2/3 to 1 cup raisins (or dried fruit)
1/3 cup peanut butter (I used unsweetened, fresh ground, softened a bit in the microwave)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon water

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Lightly grease your favorite small bar pan (I used a round one because it was within easy reach).  (If you know your pan is prone to sticking, put parchment paper in and grease that instead.)

Mix together all the dry ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer.  (Be sure to give it a stir with your spatula to get the bit that always hides at the bottom.) Mix the wet ingredients together in another bowl.  Turn your mixer on low speed and add the peanut butter.  Once that is integrated, pour in the liquids slowly.  Mix until it reaches a nice, crumbly consistency.

Pour into the prepared pan and press down firmly.  (The firmer you press it down, the better your bars will hold together.)

Bake for 30ish minutes or until the edges are golden brown (the center will still feel soft).    Let cool completely in the pan (this will finish setting the bars).  Once cool, turn out and cut or break into pieces.  (If you want uniform bars, use a pizza cutter, if you don’t care, just break ’em apart into chunks.)

Store wrapped in plastic or an airtight container.  If the weather is humid, stick ’em in the fridge. (P.S. You can also freeze them! … If they last that long!)

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