I set out to find a recipe and to make my own granola bars, thus eliminating high fructose corn syrup, fractionated palm kernel oil, added colors and flavors and all other weird unnecessary stuff. This recipe was just perfect! The bars came out a bit crunchy, a bit chewy and I put in them what I wanted. I found a bag of what was called "women's mix" trail mix. It had cranberries, blueberries, cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, soy nuts and much more. I added in this trial mix instead of purchasing separate bags of fruits and nuts. Next time I will stock up at the bulk food bin at the health food store, I just wasn't' sure how this was going to go. I also was out of wheat germ but had ground flax, so I used that. I also used 1/2 honey and 1/2 agave. I packaged them up in little snack size ziploc bags and put them where I keep (kept!) my other bars, I will be able to grab and go! Try a batch of your own.
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
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 chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.
Toss the oatmeal, 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 and stir in the wheat germ.
Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries and stir well.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers 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.